Clay Bennett “out of ideas”

From the Seattle Times:

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.


  1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Pentagon Threatens To Revoke Honorable Discharges Of Veterans Who Protest Iraq War

    “Vet May Lose ‘Honorable’ Status Over Protest


    “KANSAS CITY, Mo. (May 31) – An Iraq war veteran could lose his honorable discharge status after being photographed … at an anti-war protest. … Marine Cpl. Adam Kokesh … was identified in a photo cutline in The Washington Post …. Now, a military panel has been scheduled to meet with Kokesh on Monday to decide whether his discharge status should be changed from ‘honorable’ to ‘other than honorable.’

    “‘This is clearly a case of … intimidation of veterans who speak out against the war,’ Kokesh said. ‘To suggest that while as a veteran you don’t have freedom of speech is absurd.’

    “His attorney … said at least three other veterans have been investigated because of their involvement at demonstrations. … He called the proceedings against Kokesh highly unusual and said the military usually seeks to change a veteran’s discharge status only if a crime has been committed. If his discharge status is changed, Kokesh … could lose some health benefits and be forced to repay about $10,800 he received to obtain his undergraduate degree on the GI Bill.

    “Kokesh said he holds no ill will toward the Marines. ‘I love the Marine Corps,’ he said. ‘I always have loved the Marine Corps, and that is why I’m particularly offended to see it being used for political ends.'”

    Quoted under Fair Use in a fair and balanced way; and if you want to read the whole article or find out if it’s copyrighted, click here:

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: Democrats in Congress should pass a law requiring recruiters to make all potential recruits read and sign the following legal disclaimer before enlisting:

    I, (name of recruit), understand that by enlisting in the (branch of service), I give up all my rights as an American citizen, including the right to free speech or to express any opinion that may displease my superiors; and I further understand that this extends to my return to civilian life after completion of military service, and that my status as a veteran and all of my veterans benefits may be revoked if I ever criticize the regime in Washington D.C. or the warmongering, torturing, lying, corrupt assholes running it.

  2. 2

    ArtFart spews:

    1 Shit. Our government is doing stuff like this, and we’re jerking off over BASKETBALL?????????

  3. 3

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I have an idea. When we take over the government, let’s revoke the veteran’s status of every rightwing redneck who voted for the Republicans. If Republicans do it to our guys, then Democrats should do it to their guys. What goes around, comes around. How do you like them applies, rightwing motherfuckers?

  4. 4

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    In other words, if you support Bush’s warmongering, your prior military service will be revoked! Hell, we should revoke your birth certificate too! Then you’ll no longer exist.

  5. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Another proof that wingnuts don’t support the troops, they just want to force everyone to support their war.

  6. 6

    Libertarian spews:


    Was the guy in the Marine Corps when he was at the war protest or had he been discharged prior to the event?

    On a lighter note – Does anyone really care if the Sonics are in Seattle or Oklahoma City? I don’t know many people who care.

  7. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The amount of public subsidy given to rich sports team owners should be ZERO. There is absolutely no rational reason why government’s coercive power of taxation should be used to force struggling taxpayers to put money in THEIR pockets.

  8. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @6 He will be discharged from the Individual Ready Reserve on June 18. People in IRR are civilians unless/until they’re recalled to active duty.

  9. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Note: A veteran in IRR status is not assigned to a unit, does not attend drills, is not required to train … in short, has no military duties or status whatsoever. The IRR is simply a manpower pool the Pentagon can draw on as a source of troops. Kind of like recalling former or retired officers to active duty.

  10. 10

    Libertarian spews:

    That one may end up in the courts, Rog. My guess is that nothing will happen to the guy. There’ll be a lot of whoop-tee-doo, and then it’ll be dropped.

    We should concentrate on getting out of these ethno/religious wars and try minding our own business for a change.

  11. 11

    Tuor spews:

    Your status while on IRR isn’t entirely black-and-white. For example, you are supposed to maintain 1 set of uniforms while on IRR, and you are supposed to informed reserve command if you should move from the address you gave when you got out. I doubt anyone actually *does* this sort of stuff, but we’re supposedly supposed to do it.

    For myself: I threw all my uniforms in a dumpster before I made it off the pier, and never told anyone when I moved. OTOH, I didn’t get myself on TV during a phony war when the military and administration is desperate to keep its image from degrading further.

    The question, as I understand it, is whether you are still subject to the UCMJ while on IRR. I tend to think you are, based on the above, but that could be another example of the military overstepping its bounds.

    Still, when you sign on, you do it for eight years, and so there is a pretty good chance that Uncle Sam has the power to do what they’re doing to this guy. I don’t like it, and I doubt anyone who served and is against this “war” likes it, but that may well be the way it is.

  12. 12

    Tuor spews:

    Regarding the Sonics:

    As I said when the team was sold: bye-bye, Sonics. I knew then Bennett would move them, and so did anyone else with any sense. What has gone on since then is a dance to avoid looking like that was the plan from the beginning, when clearly it was. Everyone is involved in this BS dance, including the sportscasters who cover them, the local and state governments, and of course, the team ownership.

    Sad, but if Bennett thinks we’re going to blow another $500 mil for him and his rich buddies, he’s full of it. Sonics are the odd-men-out on this one. Other pro sports teams better take notice: the gravy train is coming to an end.

  13. 13

    ArtFart spews:

    Clay Bennett is from Oklahoma. He may have blathered a few platitudes about Seattle, but in his heart of hearts he probably hates it here. No doubt he’s appalled by the politics, the general level of tolerance for racial and sexual minorities no doubt makes him uncomfortable, and he’s likely baffled by the groups of professed followers of Jesus Christ who oppose the war. He may find our hills to be a pain in the neck, he no doubt misses seeing the occasional osage orange tree, and he might well be terrified about being close to so much water.

    No way is that guy going to buy a sports team and keep dragging his butt to this strange land to watch ‘em play. They’re gone, folks. Time to forget the entire charade and talk of other things.

  14. 14

    Commentator spews:

    It would be very interesting to compare the amenities of his OK City arena to the current coliseum. I somehow doubt the OK city arena has all the goodies he says are critical to making money. Attendance at the final hornets games wasn’t exactly sold out, even though they were in the playoff hunt and also were about to return to New Orleans, which meant there wouldn’t be more games for a long time.

  15. 15

    YOS LIB BRO spews:

    a more typical 40/60 public/private partnership.




    without the stadium, people would go to the movies more often, or go bowling more often, or go to state fairs, or visit the zoo, and generally find other ways to have fun.

  16. 16

    Right Stuff spews:

    Sonics Leave = Seattle further falling into a second class city….

    I’m not for public dollars “saving” the Sonics. I also don’t think it’s good for Seattle to lose it’s oldest team, and only championship holder.
    What exactly is the issue on extending hotel and car rental taxes to help with a new public facility?
    The whole “rich getting richer” strawman is old. Seattle loses if the Sonics leave.

    If we are taxing transient, non-resident hotel and car rentals to pay for this, how is that taking money out of anyones pocket here?

  17. 17

    Tuor spews:

    LOL. 2nd class city? Are you a native? Seriously, I’m curious.

    I am, and I never have understood this burning desire to be a “world-class city”. Why do we need to be that? Isn’t enough that we’re Seattle? It is for me. There is no other place like Seattle — not anywhere. Having “world class” this or that isn’t going to change that, and it wont make this any less of an outstanding place to live.

    I think this whole “world class” thing was started by Californians that moved up here and seem to have an insecurity complex or something. I wish they’d go back home to “world class” Los Angeles.

    If Seattle becomes less than what it was, it will because the *people* who live here have become less than what they were (something I think is happening, BTW), not because we lost a pro sports team, and not becuase we didn’t spend many millions of dollars on a new main library (which we did).

  18. 18

    SeattleMike spews:

    If these sports palaces were such great deals, there would be a long line of people waiting to invest in building and maintaining them, instead of demanding that the local taxpayers pay for them. If Bennett really wants the teams to stay here, why doesn’t he put out a call for people to put up the venture capital and see what response he gets.

  19. 19

    Right Stuff spews:

    Tuor says:

    LOL. 2nd class city? Are you a native? Seriously, I’m curious.

    Yes, native.
    And yes, 2nd class city. One less asset that sets Seattle apart from many other cities. I for one love that Califonians and anyone else wants to move here or do business here. We all should. My prop value loves it. The county and state tax collectors too.
    The Sonics are part of this regions history. I am a sports fan so of course I’m biased here. I remember well the 1979 championship team. Gus Williams, DJ, JJ, Downtown Freddie Brown, Jack Sikma, Tom Chambers all of them. I remember the Sonics being so hot during the Reign Man, Glove, Big Smooth and Mac10 days.
    The craze and buzz around town was just like it was during the recent super bowl run by the Seahawks….Only it was all season long..for years…

  20. 20

    proud leftist spews:

    Tuor @ 17
    Well-stated. We have a magnificent city–it’s prosperous, beautiful, diverse, entertaining. People like living here and visiting here. Who cares whether we make someone’s rankings as “first-class” or whatever? About the only way I can think of to make the city even better is to deport the few remaining Republicans who live here to Omak or Tonasket.

  21. 21

    Tuor spews:

    Right Stuff @19,

    Well, I guess you weren’t one of those guys out keying the cars of people with Cali plates back in the mid-80s. I didn’t do that, but I well understood their attitude. At any rate, at least you’re a native, so I’ll give your comments more weight than I otherwise would’ve (yeah, I’m like that).

    I remember the 1979 team (and, IIRC, Tom Chambers wasn’t on it, but I could be mistaken), and I remember watching the previous year’s championship where we lost to the Bullets in 7. Nothing that happens now can take those things away. They are *ours*, and will always be ours, regardless of what happens to the Sonics.

    Don’t get me wrong: I don’t *want* to see the Sonics go, but OTOH, I *will not* be held ransom by some rich punk who thinks he can strongarm us into essentially giving him millions of dollars if only he wont move the team. I have my pride, and I’m glad the City and State basically told him to fuck off. Honestly, I wish we’d do that more often.

    As to us becoming a 2nd Class City, it doesn’t matter to me. People can think whatever they want about Seattle. In fact, the worse people think about it, the better I feel. Property value? In many places, it has become way too expensive to live.

    Back in the 80s, my Dad’s property value doubled in one year, and then went up again by that amount the next year; that was our primary residence, not something to be held and then sold for a profit: that taxes were/are brutal. Yeah, maybe some property owners are making out (when they finally sell), but for everyone else, it’s not such a good thing.

    Seattle is and will always be my home. People can talk smack about it, or praise it, or whatever, but I know it for what it is, and nothing anyone else does or says about it will dim it in my eyes, only what we ourselves do can cause that to happen.

  22. 22

    TacomAroma spews:

    All I know is that if we give out another corporate welfare check to a whiney-ass multimillionaire to support another pro sports enterprise staffed by millionaires, we’ll have sold our souls for the equivalent of a bag of magic beans.

    No more welfare for millionaires. No more subsidising pro sports franchises. If they can’t turn a profit with their current business model they deserve to fail. It’s the free-market way.

    Schools. Transit. Public Health. Police. Firefighters. These are the things we need to spend money on. These are the things that are going to assure us a place as a first-class city.

  23. 23

    GS spews:

    67 Billion RTID and Roads Package and we are wondering where to get 1/2 a bil to keep the Sonics…


  24. 24

    Broadway Joe spews:

    Hold it here a second, folks. This argument about Seattle being a ‘second-class’ city if the Sonics and Storm leave (for which, I’d be happy to drive up from Reno to personally kick Clayboy and the Redneck Mafia out of the Evergreen State), and then calling LA ‘world class’ (though my sarcasm detector did go off when I read that) in a subsequent post, it made me think. If the NBA, which is nowhere near as dominant on the global sporting landscape as it was just 5 to 10 years ago, leaves Seattle, when Los Angeles hasn’t had the NFL in well over a decade, even when you factor in the dual baseball, basketball, hockey and college football teams, LA still would rate BEHIND Seattle due to its lack of an NFL franchise. The NFL is the 800 lb. gorilla in the room of global sports, with only the major European soccer leagues (England, Spain, Italy and Germany, in no particular order) in the NFL’s vicinity.

  25. 25

    Yer Killin Me spews:

    Seattle has one of the best zoos in the country, and one of the best aquariums to go with it.

    Seattle has an excellent (if internally contentious) symphony orchestra, an opera company, and is the staging ground for Broadway-bound musicals (think Hairspray, a multiple Tony-award winner). Top acts from the Stones to hot new bands people will be talking about next year come to town regularly.

    Seattle has Starbucks, Microsoft, Alaska Airlines, branches of major tech companies like Google and Adobe, the bulk of Boeing’s production business, and any number of other smaller companies.

    We have parks, beaches, water skiing, snow skiing, hiking, fishing and innumerable other things to do.

    And yes, we have the Mariners, the Seahawks, the Huskies, the Sounders, two minor league baseball teams and a minor league hockey team in addition to the Sonics and Storm.

    I think that even if the Sonics and Storm leave our chances of falling into the realm of second-class cities, whatever that means, are somewhere between negligible and nil. Will we miss them? Sure, the basketball fans among us (and I’ll admit, I was one until they started sucking like a vacuum pump) will miss not having a team nearby. But is it worth giving up one more red cent to an undeserving millionaire when there are so many other more important places to put that money? No, no, a thousand times no.

  26. 26

    Yer Killin Me spews:

    Fact is, if we manage to stand firm in not giving Clay Bennett his ransom money, we will have given other cities in the United States something that is in very short supply: a good example to follow. The cessation of corporate welfare has to start somewhere, and it might as well be here, and it might as well be now.

  27. 27

    Average JOE spews:

    This is a simple matter of choice.

    I choose to have my tax dollars expended on needed and necessary items, projects and programs.

    Basketball, or any professional sport for that matter just does not meet the test. Way to go State Legislators. You obviously, finally, read someones mind.

    If we feel we need to pay additional taxes, lets choose something necessary. If the sentiment is shared throughout our society, it wont be long before pro sports return to Seattle. If it means that the team owners and players and sponsors make less, SO BE IT!!

  28. 28

    JC spews:

    Given how Bennett apparently has no issues in breaking the Key Arena lease, why would anyone trust him to build a brand new arena and see him packing again if attendance remains stagnant because of a pitiful team. Yeah, we have the #2 pick, but we’re losing Lewis and the entire organization is a mess which no free agent wants to be a part of, so I expect us to be a below .500 team for a long time.