One of the great sports cities in America has just lost its long-standing NBA franchise.
Noted snake Clay Bennett cut a deal with the City of Seattle that allows him to move the Sonics franchise to Oklahoma City this year. Originally, the city had sued Bennett to force him to play out his Key Arena lease, which was set to expire after the 2009-2010 season.
NBA commissioner David Stern (above, right) has done nothing to help preserve the sport in Seattle, which has hosted a professional basketball franchise for 40 years. And why would he? The league is somehow convinced that Oklahoma City, which has exactly zero major-league pro sports franchises, can adequately and consistently support an NBA franchise.
Hey, what a great idea!
While we check out this new market and see if it will actually work, let's screw over a traditionally strong sports town. Bennett and the NBA have now gotten just enough cooperation from the city in order to do that.
The settlement calls for a meager $45 million payment from Bennett, with $30 million more due if Seattle doesn't secure a new team by 2013 (and Stern offers no guarantees that will ever happen). I'm stunned that the city would cave like this, basically allowing Bennett to buy himself out of town for $45 million, and allowing Stern to guarantee NOTHING from the NBA.
(Stern's "Bow down and kiss our feet, suck our toes, and lick our calves, and we may think about looking into talking about getting you a team in the future" statement is the ultimate in bogus garbage from sports commissioners. He promised nothing but a discussion, and that's only if the city and State of Washington pony up and pay for a new playground first. Of course, that new playground could ultimately sit empty for perpetuity, but at least Stern will think about it. That's worth $300 million, right?)
It's a jackass deal from a jackass league that is run by a jackass.