Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drinks

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sonics Deal Reportedly Being Finalized, but Union Vows to Keep Up Lawsuit to Stop Arena

Posted by on Wed, Jan 9, 2013 at 2:50 PM

After Yahoo! basketball reporter Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that a deal is in the works to bring the Sacramento Kings to Seattle—presumably renaming them the Sonics—he's now posted a full article with what he says are the details:

The Maloof family is finalizing an agreement to sell the Sacramento Kings to a group that hopes to move the franchise to Seattle for the 2013-14 season, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

The deal will sell the Kings for approximately $500 million to a group led by hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft chairman Steve Ballmer... The Seattle group's plans, with support of the NBA, is to play two seasons in KeyArena before moving into a new Seattle arena, sources said.

But within an hour, the local longshoremen issued a statement saying they intend to keep up a lawsuit to stop the construction of a Sonics arena in the Sodo neighborhood. Here's what ILWU local 19 e-mailed reporters:

The prospect of an NBA team returning to Seattle is great news, but ILWU local 19 feels that siting an arena in SoDo will adversely impact industrial and waterfront jobs. All alternate locations must be considered.

A team purchase has no effect on our pending legal case challenging the arena’s premature siting in SODO. The issue in the case is whether the city and county complied with public facility environmental laws. The court will likely only care about whether the City and the County violated the State Environmental Policy Act, not whether Mr. Hansen has taken yet another step to site his arena in SODO with public money.


Comments (26) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment

Sorry Sacramento.
Posted by SPG on January 9, 2013 at 3:04 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 2
One thing I like about the NBA is that teams almost never change their names when they move. Obviously the Sonics are an exception, but they're the only one I can think of. Over the years, teams such as the Lakers, Jazz, Nets, Grizzlies, Clippers and Hornets have moved and kept their names when they did. And I think the Kings should keep their name in Seattle, too. It's a different team with a different history.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 9, 2013 at 3:07 PM · Report this
When they stand up against the coal trains, then I'll believe that the ILWU local isn't completely full of shit on this issue.

It ain't the stadium that sent the Grand Alliance to Tacoma.
Posted by Westside forever on January 9, 2013 at 3:09 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 4
The court will likely only care about whether the City and the County violated the State Environmental Policy Act

Could someone summarize exactly how the State Environmental Policy Act was violated here, without using politics to explain how? What was the violation of the letter of the law? I keep hearing this but I don't recall seeing a coherent explanation.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on January 9, 2013 at 3:12 PM · Report this

The reason that the Kings will change their name is that part of the settlement with the city of Seattle was that Seattle would retain the Sonics name. Also, the Kings were the Royals for just as long (27 years for each), so it's not like they didn't have their name changed before.
Posted by arbeck on January 9, 2013 at 3:16 PM · Report this
nedludd 6
@4 Joe: the argument is that an Environmental Impact Review process is supposed to analyze genuine alternatives to the proposed site, but that by signing the MOU with Hansen, the City has created unstoppable momentum for its desired conclusion, and that consideration of Key Arena etc is too unserious to call it a genuine review process. Of course, this could apply to almost any EIR process for any proposed project (there's always a deal already made) but that's what keeps up environmental lawyers' car payments.
Posted by nedludd on January 9, 2013 at 3:24 PM · Report this
To me, the Sonics are not coming back. The Sonics are in Oklahoma City and I can't pretend that you can bring a team from another city, change the uniforms, and call it the Sonics. Teams carry their history with them. I know they'll most likely be called the Sonics, but I wish they'd stay the Kings (or the Royals, if that's what they used to be). Or maybe reflect that it's a new era in a new city by calling it a brand new name. But I can't maintain this fiction that the real Sonics, the original Seattle team, didn't leave.
Posted by floater on January 9, 2013 at 3:36 PM · Report this

We do get all the records and statistics back with them as well. This is not unprecedented. The same thing happened with the Cleveland Browns.
Posted by arbeck on January 9, 2013 at 3:42 PM · Report this
The renaming a new team to have the same name as the old team that still exists in another city with a different name & all their franchise records intact was just done last year with the NHL Winnipeg Jets. It's weird and stupid.
Posted by fsb on January 9, 2013 at 3:43 PM · Report this
@7 and 9, this is a somewhat unique case and @8 is right.

My understanding is that since we won the rights to the history and branding of the Sonics in the settlement, assuming this sale goes through, the franchises will look like:

- The Seattle SuperSonics (1967-2008 and 2013-)
with all Seattle SuperSonics stats and records

- The Oklahoma City Thunder (2008-)
franchise history starts with 2008-2009 season

- The Sacramento Kings/Kansas City Kings/Cincinatti Royals/Rochester Royals (1945-2013)
franchise history ends after 2012-2013 season
Posted by algorhythm99 on January 9, 2013 at 4:00 PM · Report this
cressona 11
I'm with Matt from Denver @2, floater @7, and fsb @9. This new team should be called the King County Kings.

OK, I'm being facetious. I'm so glad Chris Hansen has some sense.
Posted by cressona on January 9, 2013 at 4:01 PM · Report this

You're forgetting Omaha... they also played there in a weird time share agreement with KC. That's why I don't feel that bad about taking that team. That team has been moving around forever.
Posted by arbeck on January 9, 2013 at 4:04 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 13
@ 5, good point. And if @ 10 is correct (that Seattle got to "keep" the history, including records and that one title), then by all means, change the name. Cleveland got to do that when the Browns came back into being.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 9, 2013 at 4:11 PM · Report this
@11 Yeah! The King County Kings, the most redundant team in the NBA.
Posted by floater on January 9, 2013 at 4:13 PM · Report this
Mike Force 15
The correct answer is @10. The new Sonics keep their legacy because it fucking happened here.
Posted by Mike Force on January 9, 2013 at 4:19 PM · Report this
SPG 16
Unless you're going to play the exact same players year after year no matter how old they get, then you're looking at a changing organization over time. It's not a big deal if the players who start the next season in Seattle aren't the same as the ones who ended the '08 season. These things change all the time. We'll build up a new team and make changes as the Sonics.
I'm looking forward to the sportscasters decades from now where they mention the years the Sonics weren't here as an interesting footnote.
Posted by SPG on January 9, 2013 at 4:31 PM · Report this
Baconcat 17
"This arena will bring jobs!" harp people who call themselves progressives.

However, in a somewhat unethical and impressive flip-flop the same concern with jobs does not apply to Sacramento or the ILWU. Essentially, it is a good thing to sacrifice jobs elsewhere in order to achieve something that is emotionally satisfying to yourself with an as-yet unverified claim of X number of jobs at Y salary. Essentially, those progressives and their gay marriage loving pot smoking ways are fine to take on this laissez-faire method that just assumes that this is all business as usual and that there ought to be no concern with lives elsewhere because business should be free because BASKETBALL!!! That's why it never struck me as surprising to see hostility toward the "what about our jobs" argument.

On a side note: it always seems interesting that the goal was never a full-on expansion but "whatever we can get," which as a rationale doesn't inspire much action out of people like Stern toward an expansion who would rather at this point just let Hansen shake a tree and see what falls out. Then again when you compare Bennett's experiences in Seattle with his experiences in San Antonio you'll see why the NBA wouldn't want to go the extra length of expansion in Seattle.
Posted by Baconcat on January 9, 2013 at 4:31 PM · Report this
Meh, I don't think that the team should be called the Supersonics. Like others have said before me, the sonics are gone, along with the history of the franchise. The sonics can never really be brought back unless OKC moves back and are subsequently named the Seattle Supersonics.

Besides, the NBA will probably rename the franchise to something stupid like the Seaguls or, more fittingly, the Seattle Hipsters and require think rimmed glasses and beard while on the court.
Posted by ultrasuedecushion on January 9, 2013 at 5:17 PM · Report this
The local media laughs at the unions complaining that some luxury project will take their jobs, but then defers to them when they say poisoning us all with coal train cancerous toxic dust will create jobs. Man, I would love to see it the other way around.
Posted by cracked on January 9, 2013 at 6:09 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 21
@3 - No joke. Basically, the ILWU is saying, "What's in it for us?" They're probably just waiting to get their palms greased.
Posted by Free Lunch on January 9, 2013 at 6:12 PM · Report this
Call them the Stern Bennett Bootlickers! The NBA can go to hell.
Posted by kerfoker on January 9, 2013 at 7:06 PM · Report this
seandr 25
Having a basketball team in Seattle named anything other than "Sonics" would violate the laws of state, ethics, nature, mathematics, thermodynamics, relativity, and The Land.
Posted by seandr on January 9, 2013 at 7:16 PM · Report this
kk in seattle 26
Baconcat @17: Would like to see a single citation of a person who calls himself or herself a progressive that has said "This arena will bring jobs!" I mean, that statement is not even a straw man. Where do you come up with this shit?

As for the ILWU, it's gonna be hard to maintain the outrage when their argument boils down to "The City has the audacity to consider building a stadium in an area specifically zoned for a stadium!"
Posted by kk in seattle on January 9, 2013 at 8:58 PM · Report this
MrBaker 27
They will be called the Sonics.
The history is "shared", but that will be minimized by the awkward situation of having a team in Seattle called the Sonics.
The Blunder have rights to display replicas of the cool stuff we keep at MOHAI.
Lenny Wilkins never played, coached, player/coached, in OKC.

By the time the Wrongshoremen case gets rolling there will be a bunch of people that are on that side and directly connected to the situation that will want that suit to just stop. The island of support is pretty small, as it is.
Posted by MrBaker on January 9, 2013 at 9:18 PM · Report this
seandr 28
If you witnessed the magic of Payton, Kemp, Perkins, Hawkins, Shrempf, and McMillan, called by Kevin Calabro, how could you even entertain the idea of another team name?

The Sups are coming back, yo!

Posted by seandr on January 9, 2013 at 11:45 PM · Report this
biffp 29
Can't allows the Maloofs to stay involved. They are a train wreck.
Posted by biffp on January 10, 2013 at 2:58 PM · Report this

Add a comment

Commenting on this item is available only to registered commenters.

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy