Sonics owners e-mails show move was goal all along

You’d think by now public figures would have learned the lesson: Don’t say one thing and text another. Yesterday it was revealed that Seattle city attorneys had uncovered e-mails sent between owners of the Sonics last April expressing enthusiasm about moving the team to Oklahoma City at the same time that they were insisting they had no such plans. “I am a man possessed! Will do everything we can,” wrote lead owner Clay Bennett, to which his co-owner Tom Ward replied, “That’s the spirit!! I am willing to help any way I can to watch ball here [in Oklahoma City] next year.”

Whether this will affect the city’s lawsuit to hold the Sonics to their lease through 2010 isn’t clear, as that seems to hinge more on the issue whether monetary compensation can be assigned to the loss of a sports franchise. There’s a slim chance, however, that it could play into next week’s NBA owners’ vote on approving the team’s relocation to Oklahoma City – especially considering that NBA commissioner David Stern, who has insisted that team owners at least go through the motions of seeking local arena solutions before bolting to new towns, fined McClendon $250,000 for telling a newspaper last summer that the ownership group bought the team in order to move it. (The owners had signed an agreement with Stern to negotiate in good faith through October to remain in Seattle.) Not to mention that Bennett e-mailed Stern after that incident, “As absolutely remarkable as it may seem, Aubrey and I have NEVER discussed moving the Sonics to Oklahoma City, nor have I discussed it with ANY other member of our ownership group.”

As any spam filter could tell you, never trust people who type in ALL CAPS.


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