Sonics moving to Oklahoma City - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Sonics moving to Oklahoma City

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  • Bennett wants to buy out Key Arena lease

    Bennett wants to buy out Key Arena lease

    NEW YORK - Sonics owner Clay Bennett says he hopes to reopen talks with the city of Seattle about buying out the two years remaining on the Key Arena lease so the team can move to Oklahoma City right away.>>
    NEW YORK - Sonics owner Clay Bennett says he hopes to reopen talks with the city of Seattle about buying out the two years remaining on the Key Arena lease so the team can move to Oklahoma City right away.>>

SEATTLE, Wash. - NBA owners have approved the Seattle SuperSonics' move to Oklahoma City for the 2008-09 season, pending the resolution of litigation between the team and the city of Seattle.

NBA Commissioner David Stern says there were only two votes against the move at Friday's meeting in New York, Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks and Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen.

The Sonics could begin playing in owner Clay Bennett's hometown as early as next season if they can get out of the remaining two years of their lease at Key Arena.

Seattle has filed suit trying to force the Sonics to remain in the city until the lease expires in 2010, while Bennett wants to buy out the remainder. The city already has rejected Bennett's 26 million dollars to settle the lease dispute. A trial is set to begin in federal court June 16th.

Seattle is hoping to keep the Sonics in town for what would appear to be two lame duck seasons, to buy time for a group led by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to find an arena solution and eventually purchase the team from Bennett to keep them in town.

Gov. Gregoire says this is a "sad day" for basketball fans in Washington. She says the NBA vote to move the Sonics to Oklahoma City is especially frustrating in light of recent revelations that owner Clay Bennett did not make a good faith effort to keep the team in Seattle.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)

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