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Seattle group sent letter to Sonics owner, hopes to meet with Bennett

SEATTLE -- A local group of investors has offered to buy the
Seattle SuperSonics to keep the city's oldest major league
professional sports franchise from being moved to Oklahoma City.


The group headed by Dennis H. Daugs, a private wealth manager
and managing director of Lakeside Capital Management LLC, issued a
news release Friday saying the group had written a formal letter of
interest to Sonics owner Clay Bennett of Oklahoma City, who also
owns the Seattle Storm of the WNBA.


"We want to recapture the spirit and love of basketball in
Seattle by bringing the Sonics and Storm back to local ownership,"
said Daugs, a former minority owner of the NBA franchise.


The statement did not identify anyone else in the group, nor
would Daugs give that information Thursday in an interview with The
Seattle Times. Also unclear was how much the group would be willing
to bid.


Bennett, who bought the Sonics from a local group headed by
Starbucks Coffee chairman Howard Schultz for $350 million last
year, has said the club is not for sale. Schultz's group paid $200
million for the franchise in 2001.


Bennett, unhappy as was Schultz with Key Arena, threatened to
move the club unless an agreement was reached to build a new stadium
by Wednesday. He has not issued a statement on the future of the
club since the deadline passed.


"This town loves the Sonics and Storm," Daugs said in the
statement. "We have a genuine appreciation of the fan base. We
respect the many loyal fans and we want to build a populist
movement to keep the teams here. We believe there is strong local
support for the Sonics and Storm."