It seems 2009 was good to ol' Clay Bennett, the Thunder owner who brought the NBA to OKC.
According to a blog on the Web site of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Bennett not only whisked away their Seattle Sonics, but he also gets to keep a cool $30 million he had agreed to pay the Washington city.
Here's what happened: When Bennett moved the team to OKC, he paid $45 million up front to get them out of their final two years in Seattle, with the promise to hand over another $30 million if the city didn't get another team by 2013. Ah, but there was a catch. There always is.
Bennett only had to pay that chunk of change if $75 million in improvements were made to Seattle's KeyArena by the end of 2009. And at the close of the year, those improvements weren't made.
And Bennett saved $30 million. We think somebody might be having himself a bit of a celebration.
But the folks at the Seattle PI, although not exactly fond of Bennett, lay the blame at the feet of the state's politicians, who never seriously considered the improvements.
"What Seattle never had was support in Olympia," reported the blog post. (And for those of you not up on your geography trivia, Olympia is the capital of Washington.) "Bennett, with his flattop haircut and Okie ways, was often portrayed as a bit of a rube by Seattle's city slickers. But he was smart enough to know that Washington lawmakers would never OK the KeyArena financing."