NBA's Future Could Be In Oklahoma City

Thursday, March 6th 2008, 8:04 am
By: News On 6

The future of the NBA could be in Oklahoma City.

News On 6 reporter Kirsten McIntyre reports Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett is confident that at some point, we'll get an NBA team in Oklahoma City.

How soon that happens also determines when construction will start on the Ford Center in downtown Oklahoma City.

It was a slam dunk for Mayor Mick Cornett and his supporters Tuesday night. More than 60 % of voters said yes to become a NBA city. For the mayor, it meant a good night's sleep. 

"I didn't have any trouble; I had been working on very little sleep for several days," Cornett said.

But there is little rest for the weary. The mayor was back at work Wednesday making phone calls to the Big 12, NBA Commissioner David Stern and Sonics owner Clay Bennett.

"Really all three conversations were just congratulatory in nature," Cornett said.

The mayor hopes all three will lead to big things for the city, especially landing an NBA franchise. 

But will it be the Seattle Sonics? Owner Clay Bennett, who lives in Oklahoma City, has asked the NBA for approval to relocate to Oklahoma City. A vote to move is scheduled for April.

"If it will be this franchise, I couldn't tell you if it is this franchise when it might be here, I couldn't tell you," Cornett said.

If, and when it happens, will also determine construction at the Ford Center. 

Plans call for a new entrance as well as new suites throughout the Ford Center. The Oklahoma City Manager Jim Couch hopes to hire a design team sometime this month.

"Actual construction, as you see construction, it will be dependent upon when a team may be playing at the Ford Center," Couch said.

Meanwhile in Seattle, there is a last minute effort to keep the team there. A group of Seattle investors said it has a plan to remodel Key Arena and also buy the team.

Sonics owner Clay Bennett has said several times the team is not for sale. He's now preparing for court in June. The city of Seattle is suing to try to keep the team there until their lease expires in 2010.