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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 19, 2008 3:25 PM

Can it be? Did someone just say the Sonics didn't trade away their best players?

Posted by Percy Allen

Seattle attorney Jeffrey Johnson began his cross-examination just before the afternoon break.

Before the recess, Johnson asked Mitchell Ziets, president of MZ Sports, a financial advice firm, why he didn't include the Montreal Expos as a lame-duck team in his report. Earlier, Sonics attorneys submitted a report in which Ziets studied 11 lame-duck teams. The Expos were not included, Ziets said, because the baseball team played some of its home games in Puerto Rico.

When we returned at 3 p.m., Ziets was on the stand.

Ziets said the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and NFL's Houston Oilers, as lame ducks, each suffered losses in attendance even though the teams had winning seasons.

Johnson asked if the Sonics were to have a winning record in their lame-duck seasons, then they would not fit the Ziets' model.

Johnson tried to introduce Exhibit 343, but Sonics' attorney Paul Taylor objected and Judge Marsha Pechman sustained. Johnson tried to introduce the Sonics win-loss records.

Johnson pointed out that Ziets did not factor in win-loss records with the 11 lame-duck teams he studied.

Johnson asked if the Hornets or Oilers traded away the team's best and most beloved players. Ziets said they did. Johnson asked: "And that's not the case with the Sonics." Ziets replied: "It is not."

In a study for the NBA, before owner Clay Bennett bought the Sonics, Ziets said the Sonics would reap profits over the next two years if the Sonics played in a renovated KeyArena. He said the team would have made $858,024 in 2008-09 and $657,093 in '09-10.

This testimony contradicts Bennett's claims that a renovated KeyArena is not viable.

Johnson closed his cross-examination at 3:23 p.m. Taylor asked a few questions in redirect and Ziets was excused.

Sonics' witness Deborah Jay is taking the stand.

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July 2008

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