I know, this is supposed to be a Grizzlies blog but give me time and I will get around to a way this is about the Grizzlies.
Clay Bennet could be sued any day now by Howard Shultz.
So what you ask?
Well Howard Shultz used to own the Seattle Sonics before selling them to the Bennett and his group from Oklahoma City on the belief that the team would remain in Seattle. Since Bennett has announced he was moving the team, and e-mails have emerged suggesting that was always the plan, Shultz is suing to rescind the trade.
The financial damages have to be hard to determine but the end result is this, according to Shultz's attorney:
The damages that are being sought is to rescind, unwind the transaction. It's not money damage. It's to have the team returned. The theory of the suit is that when the team was sold, the Basketball Club of Seattle, our team here, relied on promises made by Clay Bennett and his ownership that they desired to keep the team in Seattle and intended to make a good-faith effort to accomplish that."
The Seattle argument is breach of contract. The e-mails make it apparent that it was never the intention of the Oklahoma City ownership group to keep the team in Seattle. Now Bennett has already sold the Seattle Storm, the WNBA team in Seattle, to local business women so that part of the deal has been maintained but isn't the Sonics are the real meat of matter?
Which brings us back to the Grizzlies. Micheal Heisley has stated that he would not have moved the Grizzlies if the team could be successful in Vancouver but it didn't take him long to determine that was not going to be feasible. Less than one year to be exact. Now Clay Bennett is saying that the team can't be successful in Seattle and that they have to move to be financially viable. However, unlike Mr. Heisley, there appears to be a clear statement that the owners never meant for the team to remain in Seattle regardless of the city or state building a new arena. I don't know how this is going to wind up but I find the similiarities eerie.
Let me say that I completely believe Mr. Heisley and his financial reasons for moving the team. I am not implying that he bought the team with the express intent of moving the Grizzlies as it now appears obvious Mr. Bennett did. It is just that there are a lot of interesting parallels between the two franchises and their proposed move. New owners, financially strapped teams in poor NBA arenas, declining fan bases and the subsequent moves being planned. If course the save the NBA program failed miserably in Vancouver and the Grizzlies didn't have a promising player like Kevin Durant on their team at the time so there are some serious differences as well.
I wonder if that is why Heisley has stopped responding to e-mails?
Editorial from the CA
Sonics Not Accepting Renewals