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Sonics Trial Blog

Seattle Times reporters Percy Allen, Jim Brunner and Danny O'Neil are filing updates from the courthouse throughout the day.

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June 17, 2008 1:56 PM

Bennett denies trading Ray Allen to save money

Posted by Percy Allen

The trial resumed at 1:30 p.m.

A three-year Sonics' outlook plan prepared by the consultant firm, Icon, for chairman Clay Bennett, said the team would lose $26 million in 2007-08, $40 million in '08-09 and $52 million in '09-10.

Bennett denied he traded guard Ray Allen, the team's highest paid player, last year to save money.

If the team is forced to stay in Seattle, Lawrence asked if Bennett would dramatically change how the team spent money. Bennett said no.

Lawrence asked if Bennett would still allow the mayor to see games and Bennett said: "He'll probably be able to see more of them than I'll be able to," which drew laughs from those inside the courtroom.

At 1:42 p.m., Lawrence submitted Exhibit 93, a February 2007 e-mail between Bennett spokesman Brent Gooden and members of the ownership. Bennett wrote: "While I am prepared for us to take responsibility for securing private money in order to ensure this is a true public and private partnership, I will not be committing to a dollar figure for our ownership group."

Lawrence submitted Exhibit 268, a January 2007 e-mail from political adviser Jim Kneeland. In the e-mail, Kneeland reported that Gov. Christine Gregoire said Washington taxpayers will not solve their problem by constructing an arena "with no direct participation on their part."

Lawrence submitted Exhibit 276, a January 2007 memo from Kneeland to Bennett: "We paid $350 million in a rushed auction and subsequently learned that we paid too much based on the current performance of the franchise not just on the court but especially in the overall business operation. What that means for us as owners is it limits how much we can contribute to this new building."

Lawrence asked Bennett why he felt he could get a $500 million arena built even though he was committing just $100 million. "Because you're an eternal optimist right?" Lawrence said.

"Yes," said Bennett.

"Like Mayor Nickels," Lawrence said.

"Not that optimistic," Bennett said.

Lawrence concluded at 1:51 p.m.

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July 2008

June 2008

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