The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

27 April 2007

The Vegas suggestion yet

Lest you think the Sonics are inevitably bound for Oklahoma City, Clay Bennett hinted otherwise at a meeting of the Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau board. To wit:

"What I heard him say was that if he ended up having to move the team, Vegas would likely be a more attractive market than Oklahoma City," said Steve Leahy, chief executive of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, who attended the convention bureau meeting.

Seattle City Councilwoman Jan Drago, who was also there, said "it was about money — they can't make a return on their investment in Oklahoma ... he really expected to end up in Vegas."

There are two possible problems with a Las Vegas move:

  1. The Thomas and Mack Center, the presumed game venue, holds a comfortable 18,776 for basketball, but it dates back to 1983, positively paleolithic in NBA terms. (They get no link: their Web site is a godawful aggregation of Flash-based conniption fits.)

  2. Commissioner Stern still isn't comfortable having a team in a place where there is gambling going on.

Still, this serves as a warning shot across the bow of those who insisted that the Oklahoma move was, you should pardon the expression, a slam-dunk.

Posted at 10:39 AM to Net Proceeds

they can't make a return on their investment in Oklahoma

I take it he consulted with the Hornets about this?

Posted by: McGehee at 4:20 PM on 27 April 2007

Bennett once approached the Hornets' George Shinn in the hopes of buying a piece thereof; I have no doubt that he's aware of the financial situation.

That said, I'm thinking that either (1) Bennett thinks the Sonics will sell out most of the time in Las Vegas, which they won't — there are literally hundreds of spectacles competing for the entertainment dollar — or (2) Bennett thinks there will be less animosity from the locals if he doesn't actually relocate to a place where people go to church on Wednesdays and vote Republican and do other horrid, nasty, illiberal things.

Or none of the above, and it's all a spectacular disinformation campaign, and eventually the Sonics will end up in Kansas City.

Posted by: CGHill at 4:50 PM on 27 April 2007

Or Bennett is posturing for possible negotiations with OKC.

Posted by: MikeH at 5:58 PM on 27 April 2007

Hey Charles, I think you're right on with your assessment. Bennett is just using this as a bargaining chip!

Posted by: Patrick at 9:59 PM on 27 April 2007

I can't imagine an NBA franchise making it in Vegas. As much as I like basketball, choosing between attending a game and hanging out in a casino where beautiful women serve me free alcohol isn't a toughie.

Posted by: Rob "Flack" O'Hara at 8:52 AM on 28 April 2007

One of those "competing spectacles," indeed.

Posted by: CGHill at 10:01 AM on 28 April 2007

Tramel's angle in the Oklahoman this morning:

Seattle does not look upon Oklahoma City as anything other than Bennett's hometown, a dusty prairie outpost. But Seattle can see Las Vegas as a peer. An equal, a threat, a city brimming with money, albeit gleaned from people's weakness.

If Bennett can make Seattle believe he's looking to Nevada, it might sober up someone in Seattle to help find an arena answer.

Posted by: CGHill at 11:21 AM on 28 April 2007