2 cities continue to fight over Sonics

Monday, February 18th 2008, 10:25 pm
By: News 9

By Stacey Cameron, NEWS 9

Two cities are playing tug of war with the Sonics. Oklahoma City wants them, but Seattle won't let go.

City leaders in Seattle continue to say they won't let the Sonic leave town without a fight.

Before last week, it seemed a federal judge would decide how long the Sonics would play in Seattle by June 16. Now, it may be the mighty dollar that decides that question.

Last November, Clay Bennett notified the NBA of his plans to move the Sonics to Oklahoma City. Seattle turned around suing to keep the team in the Emerald City.

Bennett offered up more than $26 million last week to settle the suit.

Seattle seemingly dismissed the deal out of hand. The city's deputy mayor said Stern is helping Bennett "hijack" the Sonics out of Seattle and his city doesn't want to give up the team.

According to documents, it was the City of Seattle who approached Bennett, asking him for the buyout.

Sources tell News 9 the City of Seattle remains willing to listen to another buyout, as long as Bennett increases his settlement offer.

The $26 million plus offered by Bennett and the team would pay all remaining rents due under the lease, as well as pay off the debt Seattle owes on Key Arena.

As part of the settlement offer, Bennett and the team also said they would let Seattle keep the Sonics' name, in case the city gets a new NBA team.