Details of settlement between Bennett, Seattle revealed
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The championship banners and trophies from the SuperSonics' best days will be staying in Seattle. But the flat screen TV in the coaches' locker room, that is going to Oklahoma City.
The city of Seattle and Clay Bennett's ownership group have divvied up the artifacts of the NBA's past in the Pacific Northwest, with the details outlined in a settlement obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.
The agreement calls for Bennett's Professional Basketball Club to leave any banners, trophies and retired jerseys. Those will be placed in a curatorship at Seattle's Museum of History and Industry, although the new Oklahoma City franchise would be allowed to borrow them to put on display periodically and make copies.
The franchise is also leaving some KeyArena furniture and equipment in Seattle, noting it will take 150 courtside seats, 24 office chairs, three televisions and other equipment that is still being used by the WNBA team.
Those items -- including 200 CDs, a sound-effects machine, a basketball inflater, radios, headphones and a replay monitor -- will be shipped to Oklahoma City when the WNBA season is over.
The settlement, which expands on the terms of a July 2 agreement that ended a contentious six-day trial, was filed in federal court this week. It also finalizes Bennett's agreement to pay $45 million to Seattle immediately to break the team's lease at KeyArena and the possibility for another $30 million if the state approves funding for a new arena but Seattle doesn't get a new NBA franchise.
Bennett's money would be refunded if the team is forced to move back to Seattle because of a lawsuit filed by former owner Howard Schultz, who is attempting to regain control of the franchise.
Federal judge Marsha Pechman ruled Wednesday that the NBA can intervene in Schultz's lawsuit and she also denied Schultz's motion to split the trial into two phases. The trial has been scheduled for next June.
Bennett will retain the rights to the SuperSonics' name and logos, but has agreed not to use them after moving to Oklahoma City. If a new NBA team arrives in Seattle, Bennett would turn over the rights to the new team's owner at no cost, as long as it meets with NBA approval.
The league hasn't yet announced a new name for the Oklahoma City franchise, which has applied for trademarks for six: Thunder, Bison, Energy, Wind, Marshalls and Barons.
That team will be allowed to use the SuperSonics' statistical history, although a future Seattle NBA franchise could also stake a claim to share those records.
Some aspects of the settlement still aren't finished.
Bennett designated executive vice president Terry McLaughlin to negotiate with Seattle Center director Robert Nellams on lingering transition issues surrounding KeyArena's suites and concessions. Those matters are to be handled by Oct. 31, although the settlement allows for an extension.
Any disputed issues would be handled in mediation.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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