Tuesday, April 15, 2008

GO GET 'EM HOWIE!


In a word.....WOW. So THAT is what that letter was all about when they agreed to the sale. This is a complete stunner that Howard Schultz is pissed and wants the Sonics back from that lying scumbag thief.

"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."

OH SNAP, it's on now! But will it work? Who knows. Maybe this is simply a PR stunt to try and get back in good graces around the NW. If you haven't followed it much, Howard Schultz has avoided the whole Sonics issue like the plague. The only thing he's said over last year or so is "NO COMMENT". He's been vilified as the biggest reason this team was/is headed out of town. And nobody besides Bennett's group and Howard's group has laid eyes on this letter from the beginning, and it could be very difficult to actually define in court what "good faith effort" really means. But we do already know that e-mails have surfaced claiming that Bennett never wanted to keep the team here and clearly was trying to get the wheels in motion for the move well before the mandated deadline agreed to from the beginning.

Does Schultz really want to own the team again? He's been raked over the coals, but let's face it, Schultz isn't a moron. He built Starbucks from nothing, and somehow convinced millions that $4.00 for a cup of coffee and steamed milk is a good thing to do every day. The early speculation is probably that he'll attempt to win this thing, and if he does ultimately pull it off, immediately sell it to Ballmer and Stanton's group to go with the Key Arena remodel. So this could be just a pure save-face move in an attempt to right the wrong. But if it means keeping the team here, SO WHO CARES what his motives actually are??

The other thing to consider here is maybe, just maybe, Schultz has some current NBA owners that are friends from when he owned the team? Maybe, just maybe, they will be upset with Bennett's antics and lying and being so eager to run from a great market? Maybe they'll see what's happening here and realize if they vote against the move, Schultz and local ownership could very well get the team back and Bennett could go away? Questions, on top of questions, on top of questions.

The other angle here is that, back in early 2006, Howard Schultz, Wally Walker and David Stern went to Olympia to campaign for a $200-million dollar renovation of Key Arena. Stern was 100% behind the renovation at the time. It was perfectly acceptable just 2+ years ago. Now there is a $300-million dollar renovation of the same building on the table. I wonder what Stern would say under oath as to why that suddenly isn't good enough?

If anything, it's yet another fly in the ointment for Bennett to try to take his toy and go home. If the NBA has any sense whatsoever, they will at the very least delay their vote later this week on the move until they get all the litigation straightened out. Good lord, what a freakin' MESS the NBA has on their hands right now. And they'll get zero sympathy from me, you, and a ton of others! At least it's another chance to expose Bennett for the liar that he is and get that dirty laundry in full public view.

The real beauty of Schultz’s lawsuit is that it focuses on keeping this Sonics team, here and now. None of the promises of expansion in x amount of years, none of the talk of trying to steal a team from Memphis or New Orleans or Charlotte or wherever else. As bad as they were to watch this year, they are still our team, the only team we’ve ever had, or ever cared about, with our history and our tradition. As Brinkhater has said all along about this, the NBA sucks when you are really bad and your owner is trying to get the hell out of town! But when you are winning and competitive, it can be a great thing to watch. Look at how the western conference has been this year. You have teams with 50 wins that are on the edge of even making the playoffs. Think any of those cities hate the NBA right now? Neither do I.

Kudos to Howard for recognizing the situation.

Moving on, we are about to enter the dog days of WSU stuff. There will be some recruiting news for hoops and football, of course, mainly premium content at other sites. We'll chime in where we can on that. But this is really the end of steady news that we will see for the next several months. So obviously the content around here will taper off a bit.

We'll have a few more things coming up, including a post-spring look at the defense and offense, among other things. So stay tuned.

5 comments:

atlantacoug said...

**if you don't love the Supes, don't read***

Who knows if this lawsuit is just a PR stunt or if it has legs. Shultz could go from zero to hero very fast!
But even if he does not win, the city of Seattle could win it's lawsuit, and force the Sonics to play next two years here....and then if Seattle has solid plans to upgrade arena with funding...then it is in NBA's best interest to stay in Seattle.
The one thing that could ruin all of this is if the city decides to 'settle' for $$. I am actually OK with that if there is some background deal to keep Sonics Name/history and a future guarantee of a franchise. But it does not seem like the NBA is expanding anytime soon and I want Durant! Let's see if the City has the balls to stand up to all the Stern rhetoric and keep the team in Seattle where it belongs.

Each day there is good news then bad news. Hope, then no hope. Just watch..the Supes will get the #1 pick in the draft....

Anonymous said...

This is NOT a long shot.

Winning on the “good faith” clause is likely to be difficult. While there are lots of cases that cover and describe what “good faith” is, it is highly fact specific, and a judgement would be based heavily on the judge’s views of what constitutes good faith. We don’t know all the facts, so the “good faith” case is very difficult to evaluate from a distance.

DO NOT put much faith in the pundits’ comments on likelihood of success here. Unless the pundit is an insider, he really knows very little about how the “good faith” case will play out. Note that the pundit that is quoted in the Times article on “long shot” appears to have missed entirely the fraud in the inducement element of the case, and may not even be a lawyer.

I’d assume a 50 / 50 chance of winning on good faith. But, the case would likely be here in Federal court, and that’s a good thing and could increase the odds.

But, the better news is that “good faith” is not the only basis for a claim. The other basis is FRAUD in the inducement. Basically, that case will be:

“If I [Howard Schulz] had known that they weren’t serious all along, and would do what they have done, I would never have sold. The “good faith” efforts were a material consideration in my decision to sell, and had I known that they intended to do what they did, the deal would never have happened.”

This is a pretty powerful argument.

And, you KNOW that there will be copious evidence showing that the OKies never intended to undertake reasonable, good faith efforts.

Recission is an extraordinary remedy. Courts don’t grant it lightly. But, it is designed exactly for this type of situation.

In short, this is a really bad day for Clay. Think about how his partners are reacting today. I’m guessing that they are really happpy with him. Right?

No doubt David Stern is also really upbeat.

Not a long shot. Not a slam dunk. The City’s case is probably significantly stronger. But, handicapping this from the outset, I would put Howard’s case at no worse than 50 / 50, and possibly much better.

Think about what these two cases taken together mean to the OKies investor group.

wsuhoops said...

Read this site about the chances of Schultz winning the suit:

http://www.enjoytheenjoyment.com/search?q=schultz

Seth's been on top of this from the moment those e-mails came to light. His post on the likelihood of Schultz winning a lawsuit actually preceded the news that Schultz would sue. That's good journalism.

-- Nuss

Sedihawk said...

Nuss,

No doubt, he was calling out Howard last week and had a lawyer to bounce things off. That is great journalism.

We'll see what happens. No matter what though, everything changed with those e-mails coming out. I would bet Howard had been waiting for something like this, and now the door is open. Now they have a chance to actually prove fraud beyond simply speculating or trying to connect the dots. There is proof now.

It is just another wrench to lob into the OKC express. Who knows, maybe the rest of the NBA owners will simply tire of the whole act. They all have other fish to fry, like their own struggling franchises. Maybe they just say enough, sell the team, we'll get you an expansion team in OKC in a few years. LET IT GO. They certainly don't want their business in public view, which will happen in June when every NBA club has to produce 10 years of financials as part of discovery for this case.

I'll say this too. If after all this, the lying and the fraud towards Schultz, if after ALL this, the team still moves? Then good riddance. We don't want to be in business with a league run that poorly, do we?

CCN Coug said...

I just found a great article on Foxsports http://community.foxsports.com/blogs/Kahn_Games
It looks like Mark Cuban is getting in the mix. Never say never