SONICS GUARD EARL WATSON SUFFERS BROKEN THUMB
SEATTLE, Tuesday, July 1, 2008 Seattle SuperSonics general manager Sam Presti announced today that guard Earl Watson suffered a fracture of the right thumb while preparing for the upcoming season in a basketball game in Los Angeles. The injury has a typical recovery period of three to four months. Watson is scheduled to have surgery on Thursday, July 3 in Los Angeles. Wednesday, July 2, 2008 We are confident Earl will work hard towards a healthy and timely recovery and look forward to getting him back on the court, Presti said. Last season, Watson averaged career highs in points (10.7), assists (6.8), rebounds (2.9) and minutes (29.1). Over his seven-year NBA career, Watson has averaged 7.4 ppg, 4.5 apg and 2.2 rpg in 529 games.
The Sonics are done in Seattle
- A little after 5pm, Mayor Greg Nickles, members of his staff, members of the Seattle City Council and city attorney's for K&L Gates stepped into a small room located on the 7th floor of City Hall and announced that professional basketball in the city of Seattle is over. But, there is a catch. READ THE FULL AGREEMENT - View PDF Document
The city traded in 41 years of fast-breaks, three-pointers, slam-dunks and chants of "super......sonics" for $45 million dollars - apparently their price tag on the value of professional basketball to the city of Seattle.
At the press conference today, Mayor Nickles said that in exchange for terminating the remaining two years of the lease, $45 million dollars will be paid to the City of Seattle. That financial settlement covers rent and loss of tax revenue, and allows the city to pay off outstanding debt on KeyArena.
Also, the agreement calls for Clayton Bennett and the PBC to pay an additional $30 million in 2013 - if the NBA has not approved a team to play in Seattle.
Ah, there lies the rub. You see, the City of Seattle is not guaranteed a team. There is just a promise, let's call it a "good faith" effort that the NBA will will inform the city of any sale, relocation or expansion opportunities.
Steve Ballmer and his group are still committed to securing a new team, but the State Legislature must approve public funding next year to remodel KeyArena - that has worked well in the past for the Sonics. If they fail to provide money to remodel the Key, then the city will lose it's rights to that $30 million payment if they do not get a team.
Nickles said, "I believed all along that enforcing our lease would create time for a better deal. We now have that deal."
In addition, the Sonics name and history will remain with Seattle. Nickles went on to say that, "we are now in the best position to continue that legacy in Seattle."
NBA commissioner David Stern speaks:
Poll: Did the city give up on Seattle?
From the NBA headquarters in New York City, Commissioner David Stern issued this statement:
"We are pleased that the Sonics and the City of Seattle have settled their litigation. while the decision has been made to relocate the Sonics to Oklahoma City, the NBA continues to regard Seattle as a first-class NBA city that is capable of serving as home for another NBA team. In order for this to occur, a state-of-the-art NBA arena must be funded and constructed in the Seattle area, a subject that has been extensively debated - but not ultimately acted upon - by local political and business leaders over the past four years. We are pleased that the City remains committed to addressing this fundamental requirement for the return of NBA basketball to Seattle and we hope that other elected officials critical to a solution will support the City's efforts.
"We understand that City, County, and State officials are currently discussing a plan to substantially re-build KeyArena for the sum of $300 million. If this funding were authorized, we believe KeyArena could properly be renovated into a facility that meets NBA standards relating to revenue generation, fan amenities, team facilities, and the like. Assuming the funding can be committed, the league is willing to work with the City on the design and construction of the re-build to facilitate this result. Under these circumstances, if an opportunity arose in the future for an NBA team to be located in Seattle, we would support that team playing its home games in a re-built KeyArena, if it wished. However, given the lead times associated with any franchise acquisition or relocation and with a construction project as complex as a KeyArena renovation, authorization of the public funding needs to occur by the end of 2009 in order for there to be any chance for the NBA to return to Seattle within the next five years.
"We are pleased that Steve Ballmer has expressed the continuing willingness of his group, Seattle Center Investors, managed by Seattle developer Matt Griffin, to be a part of the solution for returning NBA basketball to Seattle. The NBA will keep SCI and the City informed if opportunities arise in the next five years for franchise sale, relocation and/or expansion. Under the circumstances outlined above, the NBA would be happy to return to the City of Seattle." The City Speaks:
Mayor Greg Nickles Press Conference from City Hall Click Here
City attorney Paul Lawrence reacts to the settlement Click Here