The trial of the Seattle SuperSonics vs the city of Seattle is underway. Sonics owner Clay Bennett entered a Seattle federal courtroom today amidst a chorus of boos.

Fans chanted “liar, liar” and “thief” as Bennett walked by what was described as a “small” crowd of Seattle fans.

In its opening arguments, the city reportedly argued “a contract is a contract” and called Seattle mayor Greg Nickels as its first witness. The city is seeking “specific performance” of its existing contract with the Sonics. The Sonics will make the contention that contracts are often broken with a payment of civil damages. The Sonics have reportedly put the value on the Sonics remaining lease at $10 million.

There was one piece of bad news for Sonics supporters. From the Seattle Times coverage of the trial:


Judge Marsha Pechman overestimated public interest in the trial. She allocated 44 seats and established a lottery in which anyone wanting to attend the trial needed to sign up between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. for a court pass.

Only 15 passes were distributed.

The Sonics face another potential lawsuit from former Seattle owner Howard Schultz after this trial is over. However, in a potententially damaging decision, a judge has said Schultz may have to post a bond as high as $40 million in order to continue with his lawsuit.

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  1. Doc's Sports Predictions Guy Says:

    Nothing like clogging up the legal system. They have a LEASE. If this was a private citizen this one would be open and shut. The Sonics should play out the next three years and then, I’m sure, head to Ok. City.

  2. pgreg Says:

    It’s not quite as cut and dried as Doc says it is, but I do agree with him. Furthermore — and you can call me crazy — I have a feeling the city of Seattle will prevail in this round and the Sonics will stay put….for now.

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