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Stern to Seattle: "You're Dead to Me, Fredo..."


Mac the Knife

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PHOENIX (AP) -- NBA commissioner David Stern warned on Thursday that if the SuperSonics leave Seattle he sees no way the league would ever return to the city.

"I'd love to find a way to keep the team there," he said, "because if the team moves, there's not going to be another team there, not in any conceivable future plan that I could envision, and that would be too bad."

At a news conference following his announcement that the 2009 All-Star game would be held in Phoenix, Stern criticized the city of Seattle and the Washington legislature for its handling of the issue of funding a replacement for Key Arena.

Stern repeated earlier criticism of the mayor and city council for promoting a measure, overwhelmingly passed by voters, that requires any funds to help build an arena earn money at the same rate as a treasury bill.

That measure simply means there is no way city money would ever be used on an arena project, Stern said.

He also lamented that the state legislature refused to even consider continuing a tax that helped fund Seattle's baseball and football stadiums.

"To have the speaker of the house say well, they just spend too much money on salaries anyway, so we need it for other things," Stern said, casts aspersions on the whole league's operations. "We get the message. Hopefully, maybe cooler heads will prevail."

He was referring to a remark by House Speaker Frank Chopp last February when funding for a new arena in the Seattle suburb of Renton was proposed.

"They ought to get their own financial house in order when their payroll is over $50 million for, what is it, 10 players? I think that's a little ridiculous," Chopp said at the time. "They need to get their own financial house in order and if they did, they wouldn't have to ask for public help."

Stern's comments were much tougher than the ones he made last June, when he said he believed the issue was "just going to work itself out."

SuperSonics owner Clay Bennett told the NBA last Friday that he plans to move the team to Oklahoma City. When that move would occur depends on outcome of litigation with the city over the franchise's Key Arena lease. The lease calls for the team to play in Seattle through the 2009-10 season, but Bennett wants out sooner.

As the issue becomes more and more contentious, Stern said he hopes "that a white knight that hasn't existed before, somebody who has a building plan of how to keep the team there, will step forward."

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Sounds like he's taking it a bit too personally.

Der Kaiser Stern is a an egomaniacal dictator of the highest order. I can't wait to see a floundering league wracked with mediocre franchises playing to 60% attendance figures in mid-level markets, as presided over by his lordship himself.

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PHOENIX (AP) -- NBA commissioner David Stern warned on Thursday that if the SuperSonics leave Seattle he sees no way the league would ever return to the city.

As the issue becomes more and more contentious, Stern said he hopes "that a white knight that hasn't existed before, somebody who has a building plan of how to keep the team there, will step forward."

I guess Dennis Daugs and his offer isn't "white" enough?

This is so far beyond ludicrous, it's not even funny. I don't know who I should hate more...Clay Clay for trying to extort 500 million from the city the day he bought the franchise, Czar David for his inane remarks when he's running a sinking ship, the Washington State government for their hillbilly approach to this all, or Howard friggin' Schultz for selling the franchise.

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You should change Stern to Shultz....

I agree with ya.

First off Bennett is ridiculous in demands and time tables, second off, stern is ridiculous is throwing away Seattle. Even if something happens and the Sonics stay, hes alienated himself from the city, writing us off.

I dont see how you would want to throw away such a large market.

Theres only 9 teams west of Colorado, why take away from the west coast.

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First off I'll start by saying the Speaker was totally in line. These owners are fully willing to give professional athletes millions of dollars a year but then want the cities to pay for their facilities?! They keep saying it's a business. Perhaps they should start actually running them that way and that starts by not asking for public funds to build your buildings.

Second, I've never been to Seattle but I've never heard anything bad about Seattle except perhaps it rains a bit too much but hell I love the rain and basketball is played indoors so whatever. Seattle should have a team in the NBA. Then again so should Las Vegas and San Diego (if they can ever build a decent arena here). Rumor has been for the last few years that Vegas would get the Kings but who knows if that'll happen now. San Diego won't get one until they build a better arena. Seattle SHOULD have a team. They've supported the Sonics for years. They simply don't want to pay for something that the team should be paying for anyways. Buy your land and build your own damn buildings like every other company.

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First off I'll start by saying the Speaker was totally in line. These owners are fully willing to give professional athletes millions of dollars a year but then want the cities to pay for their facilities?! They keep saying it's a business. Perhaps they should start actually running them that way and that starts by not asking for public funds to build your buildings.

Actually he's not in line. The precedent has been set, and exists in Seattle, for public funding for athletic facilities. Once that happens, the Sonics ownership is fully within its rights to expect similar funding. You may not like it, but the precedent is there.

Incidentally, if you want a basketball team in San Diego....public funding will be needed for the arena. I'm just saying... :blink:

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First off I'll start by saying the Speaker was totally in line. These owners are fully willing to give professional athletes millions of dollars a year but then want the cities to pay for their facilities?! They keep saying it's a business. Perhaps they should start actually running them that way and that starts by not asking for public funds to build your buildings.

Actually he's not in line. The precedent has been set, and exists in Seattle, for public funding for athletic facilities. Once that happens, the Sonics ownership is fully within its rights to expect similar funding. You may not like it, but the precedent is there.

And that precedent has since been revoked. Seattle residents (or WA state? Someone with a longer history of the region will have to help me here) voted that, after renovations to KeyArena in 1996 and building Safeco and Qwest, there would be no more tax levies for sports stadiums. Perhaps if we had a state income tax, it would be easier to raise funds. However, Seattle residents have rightly rejected more regressive taxes for new arenas.

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First off I'll start by saying the Speaker was totally in line. These owners are fully willing to give professional athletes millions of dollars a year but then want the cities to pay for their facilities?! They keep saying it's a business. Perhaps they should start actually running them that way and that starts by not asking for public funds to build your buildings.

Actually he's not in line. The precedent has been set, and exists in Seattle, for public funding for athletic facilities. Once that happens, the Sonics ownership is fully within its rights to expect similar funding. You may not like it, but the precedent is there.

And that precedent has since been revoked. Seattle residents (or WA state? Someone with a longer history of the region will have to help me here) voted that, after renovations to KeyArena in 1996 and building Safeco and Qwest, there would be no more tax levies for sports stadiums. Perhaps if we had a state income tax, it would be easier to raise funds. However, Seattle residents have rightly rejected more regressive taxes for new arenas.

Plus, the ownership group of the Mariners and Seahawks put up a lot more money towards their facilities than Clay Clay is willing to put up for his.

When local land opportunities aren't seriously looked at, when local offers for ownership aren't looked at, and when the morons in power act the way they do, I don't know what else we as fans can do. Clay Clay's gonna do what he wants, Stern's gonna run the league into the ground, and the fans get screwed.

...and correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the city still paying for the original renovations?

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This is ridiculous. There comes a point when as the Commissioner of the League you need to ask yourself, "what's best for my league? A team in Seattle, or a team in Oklahoma?" It's obviously Seattle. And, there's not a deal that can't be done if both sides want to make it happen.

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First off I'll start by saying the Speaker was totally in line. These owners are fully willing to give professional athletes millions of dollars a year but then want the cities to pay for their facilities?! They keep saying it's a business. Perhaps they should start actually running them that way and that starts by not asking for public funds to build your buildings.

Actually he's not in line. The precedent has been set, and exists in Seattle, for public funding for athletic facilities. Once that happens, the Sonics ownership is fully within its rights to expect similar funding. You may not like it, but the precedent is there.

And that precedent has since been revoked. Seattle residents (or WA state? Someone with a longer history of the region will have to help me here) voted that, after renovations to KeyArena in 1996 and building Safeco and Qwest, there would be no more tax levies for sports stadiums. Perhaps if we had a state income tax, it would be easier to raise funds. However, Seattle residents have rightly rejected more regressive taxes for new arenas.

True...but the fact that you have done so in the past reduces your bargaining position. And since you voted against future taxes, even though you had paid for stadia in the past, I think the denizens of Seattle have abdicated some of their right to be mad about the Sonics' impending move. Unless they though a renovated Key Arena was truly a long term arena for the Sonics...which smacks of poor foresight.

David Stern probably thinks he's still got the Pacific Northwest covered with Portland.

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True...but the fact that you have done so in the past reduces your bargaining position. And since you voted against future taxes, even though you had paid for stadia in the past, I think the denizens of Seattle have abdicated some of their right to be mad about the Sonics' impending move. Unless they though a renovated Key Arena was truly a long term arena for the Sonics...which smacks of poor foresight.

Reread that. We as taxpayers owe Clay Bennett something? My ass. We've abdicated zero right. Jdub is right -- my understanding is, yes, the city is indeed still paying off renovations to KeyArena. The city upheld its end of the bargain. This latest fight is over Bennett deciding he wants to break his.

Why is it that regular business practices go directly out the window when dealing with sports? This is stupid. Citizens of any locality have zero responsibility to build arenas for sports stadiums. We haven't abdicated squat by bring some sense of sanity to sports and the role they play in this region. The Sonics got theirs ten years ago. Just because Bennett wasn't there for it doesn't mean it didn't happen.

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True...but the fact that you have done so in the past reduces your bargaining position. And since you voted against future taxes, even though you had paid for stadia in the past, I think the denizens of Seattle have abdicated some of their right to be mad about the Sonics' impending move. Unless they though a renovated Key Arena was truly a long term arena for the Sonics...which smacks of poor foresight.

Reread that. We as taxpayers owe Clay Bennett something? My ass. We've abdicated zero right. Jdub is right -- my understanding is, yes, the city is indeed still paying off renovations to KeyArena. The city upheld its end of the bargain. This latest fight is over Bennett deciding he wants to break his.

Why is it that regular business practices go directly out the window when dealing with sports? This is stupid. Citizens of any locality have zero responsibility to build arenas for sports stadiums. We haven't abdicated squat by bring some sense of sanity to sports and the role they play in this region. The Sonics got theirs ten years ago. Just because Bennett wasn't there for it doesn't mean it didn't happen.

Simply put...sports are not a regular business. If a business wants to move, theoretically it should be able to move with relative impunity, and be allowed to keep all of its assets, such as history. The concerns of the (former) customers would be of little concern to the owner, as they have no ownership stake in the business. Instead, you have begun to see a trend where the customers try to keep the business in a certain location against its will, and failing that, attempting to take some of its assets. Does this apply to other businesses?

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I think the denizens of Seattle have abdicated some of their right to be mad about the Sonics' impending move.

I have to respectfully disagree with that statement. Bennett demanded a new arena at his initial press conference. He barely blinked an eye when land sites like Bellevue, Renton, and Auburn were brought up. Stern quickly bashes Seattle, a very healthy television market, when places like Memphis, New Orleans, and Charlotte are in such disarray, and while local guys are ready to step up and buy the team. Our local government could certainly do more to save the longest-tenured sports franchise in Seattle.

We haven't abdicated anything.

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I think the denizens of Seattle have abdicated some of their right to be mad about the Sonics' impending move.

I have to respectfully disagree with that statement. Bennett demanded a new arena at his initial press conference. He barely blinked an eye when land sites like Bellevue, Renton, and Auburn were brought up. Stern quickly bashes Seattle, a very healthy television market, when places like Memphis, New Orleans, and Charlotte are in such disarray, and while local guys are ready to step up and buy the team. Our local government could certainly do more to save the longest-tenured sports franchise in Seattle.

We haven't abdicated anything.

It's a very small percentage (1 or 2 %), but willfully removing a negotiating tool is not to be entirely ignored either. I hope you let your local government know what was what on Tuesday, though...if you think they could do more.

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We had other priorities on Tuesday. As far as the community is concerned, what the Sonics have is good enough. Bennett is trying to big-time Seattle with Oklahoma City, and it's not going to work.

EDIT: By work, I mean expecting the taxpayers to build a new arena in Seattle. Maybe one of the suburbs would pay for it, but this city was always going to take a pass.

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They keep saying it's a business. Perhaps they should start actually running them that way and that starts by not asking for public funds to build your buildings.

Non-sports businesses ask for, and receive, public assistance in constructing buildings all the time. It just usually comes in the form of tax incentives, creation of infrastructure and the like, instead of direct finacing of the construction.

Simply put...sports are not a regular business. If a business wants to move, theoretically it should be able to move with relative impunity, and be allowed to keep all of its assets, such as history. The concerns of the (former) customers would be of little concern to the owner, as they have no ownership stake in the business. Instead, you have begun to see a trend where the customers try to keep the business in a certain location against its will, and failing that, attempting to take some of its assets. Does this apply to other businesses?

Well said (or maybe I should say "Well played," for dsgitlin's sake -- :P ).

The other way in which sports are not a "regular business" is in the intangible value they provide for their communities. Sports teams provide a sense of community pride and unity that few, if any, other businesses can create. I don't think Seattle would schedule a parade if Starbucks or Microsoft posted record quarterly earnings. However, if the Seahawks ever won the Super Bowl, the city would shut down for a couple of days.

I am not saying that that aspect of the business justifies public financing of stadia. However, it does help to explain why so many cities (including Seattle) have been willing to build (or at least help build) homes for their professional teams.

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