The Sonics Ball Had Been In Clay Bennett's Court All Along
Both the Supersonics and the City of Seattle were worried of their positions at the literal eleventh hour of the court case deciding whether or not Clay Bennett's team would bolt town two years before the end of their lease with Key Arena. But now, although both sides are worry-less, one is filled with glee, the other, with sorrow as the team agreed to give retribution money to the city and the NBA was willing to consider them in future expansion/relocation cities.
Over the last two years, the City of Seattle and its residing fans were placed in a stranglehold. With Sonics Owner Clay Bennett's lasting sentiment as a "man possessed" to move the team to Oklahoma City, Seattle was playing fifty-two card pick up on top of a constantly expanding sewer. Eventually, the cards were all gone.
Throughout the six days of court proceedings, the City seemed to have the upper-hand. Although not definite, the plaintiff struck a chord when they charged Bennett of purposely deconstructing a team and removing the two star players (Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis) to make a move easier. This fed into the notion that if the team would have performed, they wouldn't have moved. To end the case, the City used Bennett's own words, that the Sonics and Storm were "synonymous with Seattle." Though, he was more than willing to break that synonymy.
The fans had the City's back, the politicians (finally) supported the efforts to keep the Sonics in Seattle, and the national media was growing sympathetic toward the Emerald City. But things changed quickly, and deservedly so.
The City really had no choice going into the trials. They realistically had two possible conclusions—to win the case and keep the Sonics for two more years, or to lose both the case and the team.
Even if the City had gained Judge Marsha Pechman's hand and had been able to keep the Sonics around for two more years, what would be the result of that? The Sonics would begrudgingly finish the deal, then leave quicker than Bennett came. They would have burned all their bridges with the NBA, the taxpayers and politicians alike would be bitter, and there would be little to no hope of getting a team. Stern promised the city that if the Sonics were to leave Seattle, the city would never get another team.
Though, to many Sonic fans the team will never return even if the NBA is in Seattle. The group "Save Our Sonics" wanted to preserve the team and its history, not simply to settle for another franchise in the future (which even David Stern provided no guarantees toward).
But at least we have hope. We have hope that there will be basketball in Seattle, though it will never be the same. The only team of a meaningful Seattle sport to win a championship is gone, and it won't be forgotten.
And it all seems so fast. Just one month ago, though I was aware of the proceedings I always held hope. I thought the good people of this world would not let it happen. I thought that everybody was like Peter Parker, and were able to handle the "great responsibility" that came with the "great power". Though, only Austin Powers could defeat this Fat Bastard.
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