|Bennett: KeyArena lease won't prevent Sonics from moving|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 17 April 2007 13:53|
Bennett said Tuesday that Gov. Chris Gregoire won't call lawmakers into special session to keep the team's plans for a new arena alive. On Monday, the Washington state Legislature decided not to consider during this year's regular session a vote on the Sonics' public financing proposal for a new, $500 million arena in suburban Renton, Wash.
Bennett will not bring the matter before the legislative session that begins next January, he said, because he will by then be exploring his contractual right to move the Sonics and the WNBA's Storm. That right, from his $350 million purchase of the teams last summer, begins after Oct. 31.
He also stated the Sonics will honor their KeyArena lease that runs through 2010 - but most likely only through ``a legal exercise.''
``That may or may not mean the team will play there,'' Bennett said, knowing Seattle's NBA team for the last 40 years is obligated to stay in the city only for one more season.
``I'm not sure it makes sense to play there if relocation (is imminent).''
Asked by The Associated Press on Tuesday about a special session, Gregoire replied: ``No discussion about that.'' Bennett said he asked her about a special session, and she replied that it wouldn't happen because the plan lacks support from lawmakers.
The Sonics did not file a relocation application with the NBA before a March 1 deadline, so they are obligated to play in Seattle for one more season.
The Oklahoma City businessman was speaking from New York when asked about lawmakers' claims Monday night that the proposal to use $278 million in King County tax revenues toward a new arena did not have enough support in the Legislature.
Bennett scoffed and said, ``That sounds like politics to me.''