Seattle files lawsuit, Sonics still plan move

Thursday, May 1st 2008, 7:16 pm
By: News 9

By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9

There could be a possible delay in the Seattle Sonics' move to Oklahoma City, pending the decision of a judge on whether the team could buy out the last two years of its lease with Seattle.

Two issues will be at stake in court in June. The first being whether the Sonics can buy out of their lease. The second topic to be debated would be at what it will cost the franchise to move the Sonics the Sooner State.

If the judge allows the buyout request, Seattle attorneys said they will ask for at least a six month delay of trial so they can prepare for what some said is a very complicated and different issue.

NEWS 9 Legal Analyst Irven Box said he believes the Sonics' lawyers should have raised the compensation issue at the pre-trial hearing earlier this year.

"The ownership of the Sonics said back in January, a very short trial, a few witnesses can be handled very quickly, and now they're saying we want the monetary damages decided. This isn't a quick issue," Box said. "If that wasn't actually raised before the judge in January and now they're just now raising it, I think that could be a mistake on the part of the organization of the Sonics."

Regardless of the legal battles that continue, the fact remains the Sonics' move to Oklahoma City has been approved by the League.

NBA Commissioner David Stern, who has given no indication about a possible stop in the Sonics plan to relocate, told a sports publication last week it would be hard to imagine any legal battle that would prevent the move from happening at the end of the Sonics' lease.