Sonics and Storm owner Clay Bennett says he’s “out of ideas” for landing an arena deal in Seattle and plans to file this November with the NBA for permission to move the teams after next season.
Of course, it’s easy to run out of ideas, when you only have one.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: there is some number in between $0 and $500,000,000 that would likely work for both Bennett and lawmakers, and that might be approved by voters. And the only way to find that number is to actually NEGOTIATE.
In addition to the Renton hoops palace we could re-explore the possibility of renovating Key Arena, or perhaps consider the Sabey property south of Boeing Field. And instead of asking taxpayers to pick up the bulk of the tab, we could start at a more typical 40/60 public/private partnership. And if Bennett and his partners simply don’t have the financial will or wherewithal to invest their own money in their own team, then perhaps they could consider bringing in some local partners or corporate sponsors who actually care about the local community and the local fans?
Of maybe, Bennett could continue pushing for the Renton project, with minor changes, but actually hire some PR and lobbying consultants who could put together a competent campaign that didn’t suspiciously look like he was deliberately trying to fuck it up?
I mean, if Bennett really wanted to keep the team in Seattle, he wouldn’t be so uncreative or intractable. And he wouldn’t be such a whiney little quitter. You know, qualities one doesn’t usually associate with successful businessmen.
Hmm. Makes one wonder if perhaps Bennett ever intended to own a Seattle team at all? In that context, his D.O.A. Renton proposal might prove just how brilliant a businessman he really is.
See, if as expected, taxpayers (and the lawmakers representing them) rejected his extravagant proposal, he could claim he made his “good faith effort,” and then pick up and move the team to Oklahoma City, where he’ll be greeted as a local hero. But if we foolishly caved to his demands, well, he still might end up with an Oklahoma City team… just not the Sonics.
The Renton deal would dramatically increase the value of the team, allowing Bennett and his partners to sell out, taking a couple hundred million dollars in profit… money which could defray the cost of buying a smaller market team, like the Hornets, and moving it to Oklahoma City instead. In that scenario, Washington taxpayers would indirectly subsidize professional basketball in Oklahoma. Sweet.
Yeah, I know, it sounds a little too devious. But the fabulously wealthy generally don’t get that way by being artless and uncalculating.
Or, by running out of ideas.