So here is the news. For the record I expected it to come from Gary Washburn at the PI who happened to be in attendance at SPORT yesterday. The Sabey rumors have been floating for weeks both in basketball circles and real-estate ones with Hughes providing significantly more detail than I had on the matter. Yesterday the topic was made public on an internet forum www.crosscut.com and it became obvious it was going to get out, garnering heavy discussion at the SPORT event. In addition to rumors of a Sabey takeover conversation with several team and media sources indicate that Bennett is really frustrated and may actually be ready to sell. His ownership group has gotten exactly nowhere on this project and despite all the claims that he will move the team it simply does not pencil out well to play another year to three years in this market at tremendous losses, pay a relocation fee, potentiially buy out the lease, and then move the team to a significantly smaller market. They could be nearly $450 million into a team that plays in one of the smallest markets in the NBA.
When taken all together the rumors suddenly have a lot of meat to them. My understanding is that this group is one of several that are suddenly eyeing the Sonics as "available" and may even be playing a waiting game to see if the league mandates sale to a local owner before it allows a move. The concept of "fire sale" is a possibility to people who think that Bennett can lay the groundwork for the arena, create the necessary desperation, and then jump in for a great price. Again these rumors are starting to circulate everywhere from the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce, to Microsoft offices, to local media members.
SPORT deserves some major thanks for their part in the SOS&S event last night. They just did a wonderful job promoting our organization and drawing in a large crowd. Furthermore thanks to Steve Sandmeyer and Dave Grozby from KJR AM950 who came by to be a part of things along with Detlef Schremph, Jack Sikma, Todd MacCullah, Jeff Nelson, and lots of good fans. Everybody was thrilled with things and we are talking about a followup event very soon.