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Follow the Sonics off and on the court with reporters Percy Allen and Jayda Evans.

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June 9, 2008 11:43 AM

Bayless and Gordon arrive this week for workouts

Posted by Percy Allen

The Sonics will continue with workouts this week and Arizona guard Jerryd Bayless is the headliner for the 15 players scheduled to appear.

The 19-year-old 6-3 guard is believed to be the player the Sonics will select with the fourth pick in the June 26 draft. He's a talented player touted as the second best guard in the draft behind Memphis' Derrick Rose. Rose will likely be chosen with the first or second picks.

Bayless isn't a natural point guard and some scouts believe USC's O.J. Mayo has more overall talent.

Still, Bayless seems a better fit for the Sonics. He averaged 19.7 points, 4.0 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 3.0 turnovers in 30 games for the Wildcats.

The Sonics will also bring in touted Indiana guard Eric Gordon, who is also a candidate for the No. 4 pick.

Bayless and Gordon are the big names, but apparently the team wants to get a good look at several center prospects. The Sonics had five centers visit on Sunday and six center are scheduled to appear this week.

The list includes: South Florida 6-9 center Kentrell Gransberry, California 6-11 center Devon Hardin, BYU 6-11 F/C Trent Plaisted, Florida 6-10 center Marreese Speights, UCLA 6-9 center Lorenzo Mata-Real, Arkansas 7-0 center Steven Hill

The Sonics will workout seven forwards this week. The list includes: Kansas 6-9 forward Darrell Arthur, Rhode Island 6-8 forward Will Daniels, 6-9 forward Luc Louves of France, Oklhaoma State 6-9 G/F Marcus Dove, Maryland 6-9 forward James Gist, Indiana 6-9 forward D.J. White and Alabama 6-9 forward Richard Hendrix

Those who made visits on Sunday were: Stanford center Brook Lopez, Boston College 6-11 center Tyrelle Blair, Sansas 6-11 center Sasha Kaun, Louisville 6-11 center David Padgett and 7-foot center Vladimir Golubovic of Serbia.

Lopez is also a possibility for the No. 4 pick, however, he's been falling in several mock drafts.

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June 5, 2008 4:25 PM

Love, Hibbert highlight first batch of draft tryouts

Posted by Percy Allen

UCLA forward/center Kevin Love worked out for the Sonics today at the Furtado Center. The Pac-10 Player of the Year was joined by Ohio State 7-foot center Kostas Koufos, North Carolina State 6-9 forward J.J. Hickson and 6-10 Australian Nathan Jawai.

Tomorrow the Sonics will bring in Georgetown center Roy Hibbert, UCLA 6-4 guard Russell Westbrook, Illinois 6-9 forward Shaun Pruitt and IUPUI 6-2 guard George Hill.

The Sonics have the fourth and 24th pick in the June 26 draft.

It's unlikely that Seattle would use its first pick to select Love, however, it's believed that he's drawing interest from Minnesota, which has the third pick. Rumors continue to swirl that the Sonics are shopping the fourth pick and looking to move back in the lottery and possibly take Love.

On the surface, taking Love doesn't make sense because his game is similar to Nick Collison, another undersized big man. However, Collison is one of a few Sonic veterans with high trade value and the team could deal him for a high pick in next year's draft.

Koufos and Hibbert are both projects and possibilities for the 24th pick whereas Westbrook appears to be a more solid choice late in the first round.

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June 4, 2008 10:11 PM

Witness list revealed in Sonics trial

Posted by Percy Allen

In a late filing Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Marsh Pechman unveiled the potential witness list for city of Seattle and the Sonics owners.

The list includes Mayor Greg Nickels and Sonics chairman Clay Bennett. Sonics co-owner Aubrey McClendon and NBA president Joel Litvin will testify through a deposition.

Other prominent witnesses include: city councilman Nick Licata, former Sonic James Donaldson and former Sonics president Wally Walker.

The Sonics owners have argued against KJR talkshow Mitch Levy and Stranger writer Sherman Alexie as witnesses and Pechman is scheduled to rule on Friday.

Here's a complete list of the potential witnesses.

For the plaintiff (the city of Seattle): sports economist Andrew Zimbalist, Todd Menenberg (expert), Lon Hatamiya (expert), former Seattle Center Director Virginia Anderson, former Boeing executive Bob Watt, KeyArena manager Jyo Singh, Sonics chairman Clayton Bennett, Sonics interim president and CEO Danny Barth, former Sonic James Donaldson, former Sonics employee Matthew Wade, The Stranger writer Sherman Alexie, KJR talkshow host Mitch Levy, Mayor Greg Nickels, city councilman Nick Licata, Sonics co-owner Aubrey McClendon, Oklahoma City city manager James Couch, Bennett spokesman Brent Gooden, NBA president Joel Litvin, Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce president Roy Williams.

For the defendant (the Sonics): Barth; Deborah Jay (expert), sports facilities advisor Mitchell Ziets, Associate Professor at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Brad Humphreys, Bennett, McClendon, Couch, former Sonics president Wally Walker and developer Matt Griffin.

These witnesses may also testify for the defendant: Seattle deputy mayor Tim Ceis, Seattle city councilman Richard Conlin, Seattle Center Director Robert Nellams, Mayor Nickels, former Sonics executive Terry McLaughlin, former Bennett spokesman James Kneeland, K&L Gates lawyer Gerry Johnson, attorney Slade Gorton, city employee Bill Alves, an employee from the architectual firm HOK Sports and an employee from real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield.

Pechman also established a pre-trial order of evidence. The city has submitted roughly 320 pieces of evidence/exhibits while the Sonics owners have a little over 100.

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June 3, 2008 8:42 PM

City argues on behalf of KJR talkshow host and Stranger writer

Posted by Percy Allen

In a late filing Tuesday, attorneys representing the city of Seattle responded to the Sonics motion to prevent KJR talkshow host Mitch Levy and The Stranger contributing writer Sherman Alexie from testifying at the June 16 trial.

The team's attorneys filed a motion last week seeking to bar Levy and Alexie because neither "has any relevant testimonial knowledge." The attorneys described the case as a "media circus" and "giving Mr. Levy a speaking role in the trial will not help."

In Tuesday's motion to U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman, the city argued that Alexie "is an award winning poet, novelist, screenwriter, director, and 10-year holder of season tickets to the Sonics. Mr. Alexie, if allowed, will offer a unique and important perspective on the intangible benefits the Sonics bring to the City of Seattle, including athletic excellence and a racially diverse entertainment opportunity."

"Mr. Levy, if allowed, will explain the symbiotic relationship between Seattle's professional sports teams and KJR (Seattle's only all sports station), and how KJR historically has provided the Sonics with free marketing and publicity through live interviews of Sonics players, coaches and management," the motion states.

"Mr. Levy will explain that despite KJR listeners' significant interest in the Sonics, PBC unilaterally decided to discontinue the team's historical practice of making players, coaches and management available for live interviews during the recently completed 2007-08 season. This refusal to promote and market the team to an enthusiastic audience, at no cost to PBC, further illustrates the self-inflicted nature of PBC's claimed losses."

Pechman is scheduled to make a decison on the motions on Friday.

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June 2, 2008 4:35 PM

SOS to rally on courthouse steps

Posted by Percy Allen

Save Our Sonics president Brian Robinson is hesitant to use the word rally to describe an event that will be held June 16 outside the downtown US Federal Courthouse, however, the grass-roots group is asking fans to arrive at noon as a show of support for the city's case against the basketball team, which begins earlier that day.

Robinson is unsure how many people will attend so he's trying to keep expectations low.

SOS has asked several former Sonics to attend including Xavier McDaniel, Detlef Schrempf and Gary Payton. The federal courthouse is located at 1010 Fith Ave.

More details will be released in the next couple of weeks.

In March, the group organized a rally at the state Capitol in Olympia which drew about 250 supporters.

***UPDATE/CORRECTIONS*** The rally will begin at 11:30 and the address is 700 Stewart NOT 1010 Fifth Ave.

And just to be technical, Brian Robinson is the co-founder of SOS along with Steven Pyeatt.

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May 28, 2008 10:31 AM

Former Sonics GM lands in Atlanta

Posted by Percy Allen

Sources in Atlanta confirm the Hawks have hired former Sonics general manager Rick Sund to replace Billy Knight who resigned May 7.

Sund, 56, spent six seasons in Seattle. He was hired in 2001 by former president Wally Walker. Sund was replaced last year by Sam Presti and spent the past season as a consultant.

He also worked as an analyst for Fox Sports Northwest.

Sund is a NBA-lifer who began his career with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1974.

During his Sonics tenure, he helped orchestrate arguably the best trade in team history which included Gary Payton and Ray Allen. The Feb. 20, 2003 deal sent Payton and Desmond Mason to Milwaukee for Allen, Ronald 'Flip' Murray, Kevin Ollie and a 2003 first-round draft pick that was used to select Luke Ridnour.

Sund is a shrewd negotiator.

Each year he operated on a tight budget and the Sonics never paid the luxury tax. He was the master of "win-win" negotiating and favored short-term, incentive-laden contracts.

Sund was able to keep Rashard Lewis on the roster with two fair-market contracts and he had the good sense not to overpay when the Sonics free agents hit the market such as Jerome James and Antonio Daniels.

Sund also had an eye for finding undrafted talent such as Damien Wilkins and Reggie Evans.

That's the good stuff. But there's a reason he's no longer the Sonics GM and his poor draft record is as much to blame as the change in ownership.

For some unexplainable reason, Sund can spot undrafted players, however, he's been horrendous at finding players in the draft and in the lottery.

He's drafted 16 players during his five years with the Sonics.

In that group, only Earl Watson (Class of '01), Vladimir Radmanovic (Class of '01) and Willie Green (Class of '03) is a full-time starter. Nick Collison (Class of '03) and Bobby Simmons (Class of '01) are part-time starters and role players.

Luke Ridnour (Class of '03) and Johan Petro (Class of '05) are bench guys.

Six players aren't in the NBA and three (Petro, Robert Swift and Mouhmad Sene) are barely hanging on.

Sund killed his credibililty in Seattle when he drafted a 7-foot project for three consecutiive years. In hindsight, Petro, the 25th pick, was a solid choice because it's difficult to find talent so late in the draft.

However, Sund used the 12th pick in '04 to take Swift and the 10th pick in '06 on Sene. Both have struggled to adapt to the NBA. And even if they weren't rehabbing serious knee injuries, they may not be on a roster next season.

Sund's move to Atlanta caught most people off guard. He will not get the luxury of hiring his own coach because ownership promised Mike Woodson would return. Ownership also seemingly blundered in guaranteeing long-term deals to Josh Smith and Josh Childress. That's a big mistake.

Sund has an established All-Star in Joe Johnson and a rising star in Al Horford.

It will be interesting to see if he has any interest in making deals with the Sonics. Folks here would love it if he would take some of the centers he drafted, but that's highly unlikely.

Still, Sund has always been a Ridnour fan and he may pursue a trade for the much-maligned Sonics guard. Other Sund favorites include Collison, Mickael Gelabale and Chris Wilcox. Atlanta has a gluttony of big forwards which rules out Collison or Wilcox, but Gelabale is a possibility in a trade.

It will be intersting to see of Sund plucks away anyone from the Sonics front office. He had a close relationship with assistant GM Rich Cho. Sund may tab Dave Pendergraft and Steve Rosenberry to join him in Atlanta. Pendergraft was the Sonics director of basketball operations and Rosenberry was the top college scout before being released by Presti.

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May 20, 2008 5:09 PM

No lottery luck for Sonics

Posted by Percy Allen

The Sonics failed to capitalize on their great position in the lottery and rather than picking first or second in the June 26 draft, they fell two spots to fourth place.

Seattle had a 38.9 percent chance of landing one of the top two picks, but the team also had a 31.9 percent chance of falling to fourth.

Obviously that means the Sonics will not have a chance to select Memphis guard Derrick Rose or Kansas State Michael Beasley barring a trade.

It appears unlikely that either Chicago, which has the No. 1 pick, or Miami, which has the second pick, will be willing trade partners. Rose, a Chicago native, makes sense for the Bulls and while Beasley would compliment Heat guard Dwyane Wade.

Still the Sonics have the No. 24th pick and four second-round picks in this year's draft. They also have four combined first-round picks in the 2009 and '10 drafts. That's a lot of ammunition of the team wants to pull off a trade.

League sources said the Sonics are very high on Rose and early forecasts say next year's draft hopefuls won't produce a do-everything point guard like the Memphis freshman.

***UPDATE 6:03 P.M.***

Barring a trade, the so-called draft experts say the next tier of players after Rose and Beasley include USC's guard O.J. Mayo, Stanford center Brook Lopez, Arizona point guard Jerryd Bayless and Indiana guard Eric Gordon.

Expect Italian League forward Danilo Gallinari to rise in the draft because European players traditionally are excellent workout players and some GM will be enamored with the 6-9 swingman. The Sonics already have 6-9 Durant and 6-9 Jeff Green on the wing so Gallinari isn't a good choice for them.

Seattle will likely select Bayless, but don't be surprised if the Sonics slide out of that spot and trade with a team that willing to overlook Mayo's off-court allegations and baggage. Many scouts believe that outside of Rose and Beasley, he's the most talented player in the field.

The character issue will likely cause him to fall to New York at No. 5, however, the Los Angeles Clippers, New Jersey and Indiana may want move up. The Sonics could still fill their point guard needs later in the lottery and select D.J. Augustin, who was Durant's teammate at Texas.

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May 19, 2008 5:26 PM

Schultz's lawsuit gets rolling

Posted by Percy Allen

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman set a few dates in Howard Schultz's lawsuit against the Sonics ownership group.

The first two dates, June 16 and June 23, pertain to a Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

On June 23, Pechman requires attorneys to meet with her in person or via teleconference and present a Joint Status Report and Discovery Plan, which will be used to determine a schedule for the case.

The attorneys must provide a statement about the nature and complexity of the case.

Other questions that must be answered include whether attorneys want the case to be decided by mediation or arbitration, whether they want a jury trial, the date the case will be ready for trial, the number of trial days required and the length of discovery.

The timing of the dates are interesting because the city of Seattle's case against the Sonics owners begins June 16 and is scheduled to end June 26.

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More from this blog

Recent entries

Jul 9, 08 - 01:01 PM
Stern tries to block Schultz's lawsuit

Jul 7, 08 - 03:55 PM
Photos of new OKC team

Jul 2, 08 - 05:25 PM
They're gone

Jul 2, 08 - 11:49 AM
City and the Sonics discussing settlement?

Jul 1, 08 - 06:09 PM
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