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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 26, 2008 1:58 PM

Sonics are irreplaceable, city's lawyer says

Posted by Danny O'Neil

The Sonics trial resumed at 1:30 p.m. with Paul Lawrence, lead attorney for the city, having 30 minutes left to conclude his case. Lawrence began the afternoon session by emphasizing the uniqueness of the Sonics as a tenant. Having an NBA team is something that just can't be replaced.

"It can't be replaced with money and cannot be replaced with another tenant, with Ice Capades or other events," Lawrence said.

Lawrence also presented a timeline showing that city officials twice said the city intended to enforce the lease, first in July 2006 after Clay Bennett's group purchased the team and again in May 2007 when Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels rejected a buyout offer.

Lawrence drew the comparison to land disputes. In those cases, he pointed out, damages can be assessed in terms of specific performance and not based on fair-market value. In essence, the courts have decided that the purchaser has a special relationship with the land being bought. The connection there is that the city has a special relationship with its basketball-team tenant. And that's a relationship that can't simply be dealt with in monetary damages.

"Simply being awarded a dollar amount is not going to make the city equal to whatever benefits it perceives are associated with the team," Lawrence said. "You can't put a number to it."

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July 2008

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Recent stories

Sonics attorneys focus on city's "poisoned well" plan
Bennett says Sonics could lose $60 million if forced to stay in Seattle 2 more years
Sonics CEO: Fans are apathetic
Clay's excuses sound as contrived as his arena plan
On the hot seat: Sonics' attorney trips up Nickels
Attorneys in Sonics case described as tenacious, polite
This judge will decide the fate of the Sonics
Seattle vs. Sonics: Trial starts next week, if there's no settlement
Take a closer look at the Sonics case
More revealing Sonics e-mails emerge
OKC officials inform Schultz they expect Sonics to relocate, no matter who owns team
Sonics e-mail hints at NBA's concern over breach of promise
Howard Schultz suit adds fuel to e-mail fire
NBA owners approve Sonics' move, but legal fight continues in Seattle
E-mails reveal Sonics owners intended to bolt from Seattle
Oklahoma House passes tax package designed to help lure Sonics

Documents

2007 "Poisoned Well" document (PDF)
Ward: "Are we doomed to have another lameduck season in Seattle?" (PDF)
Bennett's e-mail to Stern: "You are just one of my favorite people on earth" (PDF)
Clay Bennett and Sonics' court filing (PDF)

Multimedia

Gallery | Seattle SuperSonics: Lasting memories
Gallery | Bittersweet night for Sonics fans
Gallery | Sonics through the years
Gallery | 25th anniversary of Sonics world championship
Gallery | End of a Season, End of a Franchise?
Sports fan "Big Lo" seeks answers from Howard Schultz

Fans weigh in about the state of the Sonics
Cartoon | Schultz jumps into action
Talk about the team in the Sonics forum

Other links

Trial coverage from www.newok.com
ESPN.com | Hope (still) springs in Seattle