In the midst of this simply terrible basketball I find myself calling out for some toughness. What we need is a leader. The kind of bald-headed, New York attitude, don't F@*! with me guy that every NBA team needs. Unfortunately, the closest thing in Seattle is our city attorney Tom Carr.
Carr won't help us on the court but in the court he continues to play aggressively. Rumors surfaced a couple of days ago regarding an increased buyout offer from Oklahoma Ownership, over and above the $26 million number leaked by David Stern.
People within the city attorneys office denied those reports and went much further to say that, at this time it does not appear any buyout number is going to be considered. Members of both their office and the mayors staff remain outraged that confidential legal documents were blatantly leaked by the league at the all-star game. If a buyout ever were an option it appears to no longer be. Repeated bad faith negotiations by the club and league have soured the city on even holding the discussions.
Sterns debacle may in fact have been a reaction to a recent subpoena from the city attorney office. The week prior to the all-star game the city requested financial records from all NBA teams for the last 10 years. The argument presented by the city is that, central to the Sonics request to leave is the uneccessary hardship of their financial losses. Since the Sonics brought up the subject of profit and loss the city has the right to build a financial model of an NBA franchise to see where the Sonics losses compare to the average NBA franchise. Additionally you cannot measure losses unless you can demonstrate how, operationally, other teams were acting to minimize losses or operating their similar businesses.
The league is unhappy with this request and has filed a motion to deny release of the financial document with the primary reason being the privacy of these documents. The city fully expects the judge to enforce the subpoena with a protective order applying to the information contained in them. This will protect the documents themselves however it is likely that city testimony based on the documents however could become full public record and expose the inner workings of NBA franchises to public scrutiny.
There are some unsubstantiated reports that the NBA Commissioner had to inform other team owners of this situation, and request that they begin assembling their financial records at the all-star break, prior to his scathing commentary on the Seattle marketplace.
The cities mentality is admirable here. If only the team would follow their lead.