NBA notebook: SuperSonics headed to Oklahoma City
Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 3, 2008
The NBA notebook …
SEATTLE ó Clay Bennett finally found a dollar amount that would sever his contentious relationship with the city of Seattle ó $75 million.
As a result, the SuperSonics are headed to Oklahoma City with Bennett leading the way, leaving behind the team name, colors and 41 years of history.
Oklahoma City will have an NBA franchise for the 2008-09 season after a settlement announced Wednesday between the team and the city of Seattle, ending the clashing bond with the city that culminated in a six-day federal trial over terms of the teamís KeyArena lease. The judge was scheduled to rule Wednesday afternoon.
The settlement calls for Bennett and his Professional Basketball Club LLC to pay as much as $75 million to the city in exchange for the immediate termination of the lease. The teamís name and colors will be staying in Seattle.
Bennett said the move would start today and the first focus would be on the SuperSonicsí players.
iIn a perfect world I would have liked to see Clay Bennett leave, without the team at all,î said Steven Pyeatt, the co-founder of Save Our Sonics.
Itís a victory for Bennett, who purchased the Sonics in 2006 from Starbucks Corp. chairman Howard Schultz for $350 million, and will take the franchise to his hometown. Bennett faced harsh criticism in Seattle for his efforts in trying to build a new arena as a replacement for KeyArena, and the presumption he wanted to move the franchise all along.
The settlement could become a victory for Seattle as well. In a statement, NBA commissioner David Stern reversed his previous stance and said that a renovated KeyArena could be a suitable venue for an NBA franchise in Seattle. But the time is short.
MIAMI ó Michael Beasleyís first official practice with the Miami Heat ended quickly.
Beasley was struck in the chest by an inadvertent elbow during a defensive drill about 45 minutes into Miamiís first summer-league workout session Wednesday, and the No. 2 overall pick in last weekís NBA draft was taken to a doctor for observation.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the move was strictly precautionary and should not affect Beasleyís availability for Miamiís five-games-in-five-days run through the Orlando summer league, which opens Monday.
iHe took a shot to the chest,î Spoelstra said. iHe probably could have finished if it was the regular season or something like that, but we just wanted to be safe.î
BOSTON ó Boston Celtics center Kendrick Perkins underwent surgery on his left shoulder Wednesday to repair an injury that nagged him during the NBA finals and forced him to miss Game 5.
The Celtics said Perkins, 23, had arthroscopic surgery at New England Baptist Hospital, as did rookie Bill Walker, who had damage to his right knee repaired Wednesday.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. ó The New Jersey Nets have signed their two first-round draft picks.
Team president Rod Thorn announced the signings of Brook Lopez and Ryan Anderson on Wednesday.
The Nets selected Lopez with their top pick at No. 10. He led Stanford in scoring at 19 points per game last season.
Anderson was selected with the 21st pick, which New Jersey received as part of the trade that sent Jason Kidd to Dallas.
DALLAS ó The Dallas Mavericks had to give up DeSagana Diop to get Jason Kidd. Now, the 7-foot center is headed back to Dallas.
Diop agreed Wednesday to a $31 million, five-year contract with the Mavericks, according to a person close to the negotiations who requested anonymity because NBA rules prevent the deal from being signed until next week.