The Storm and the Sonics have new ownership,
led by Oklahoma City business guy Clayton Bennett. Storm fans feel understandably
Will the Sonics end up
in OKC? The folks there
certainly love their NBA Hornets, who are supposed to move back to New Orleans after next year. But Howard Schultz, whose group sold the team, says he turned down higher offers in order to get a buyer who wanted to stay.
Bennett promises to spend a year trying
to keep the teams local: "Ultimately we hope for basketball in Oklahoma City, but it's unrelated to this transaction." The Sonics-Storm organization says it's staying till 2010,
when the KeyArena lease runs out.
Any new deal would involve a new arena, either in Seattle itself or elsewhere in the metro area, such as Bellevue. Mayor Greg Nickels: "I'm going to take them at their word that they want to stay and we'll work with them. We think they will play in the Seattle Center until 2010."Seattle Weekly disagrees:
"Anyone who thinks a group of Sooner investors is going to entertain keeping the team in Seattle is delusional."
If the Sonics move, would the Storm follow, or go elsewhere, or stay in Seattle, or disappear? Sherri Coale's Sooners draw well,
and Norman is just half an hour from OKC, where there's also no major-league baseball.
But the Storm are a proven fan-attractor, as WNBA teams go, and there's no word on whether Bennett likes the W. If there's a potential Pacific Northwest buyer for the Storm alone, Orender and Stern would probably go for it, as long as they could find a place to play. We've said it before: expansion plans are insurance against contraction...
In a weird tangent, the Portland Trail Blazers and their arena
apparently remain up for sale. The seller, Microsoft gazillionaire Paul Allen, is the guy who folded the Portland Fire. Maybe whoever buys the Blazers wants to take the Storm if the Sonics don't... nah, too complicated: my head hurts. Oh, and LJ says she won't play
anywhere but Seattle, or maybe New York.
The Weekly's Mike Henderson advises
Storm fans: "Enjoy it while it lasts."