SuperSonics owner Clay Bennett could end up paying $75 million to move the NBA franchise to Oklahoma City this year, and he won’t be taking the team’s name or colors with him.
Bennett agreed to settle a lawsuit with the city of Seattle, bringing an end to a contentious relationship that resulted in a trial in which the judge was due to issue her ruling Wednesday.
“We believe this is a fair and appropriate resolution to the litigation involving the Sonics and the City of Seattle,” Bennett said. “We are pleased that the uncertainty is lifted for our players, staff and Oklahoma City fans who can now make plans for the immediate future.”
Bennett announced that the settlement calls for a payment of $45 million immediately, and would include another $30 million paid to Seattle in 2013 unless the state Legislature in Washington authorizes at least $75 million in public funding to renovate KeyArena by the end of 2009 or Seattle obtains an NBA franchise of its own within the next five years.