Court Hearing Set For Sonics, Seattle

Wednesday, October 17th 2007, 7:16 am
By: News On 6

SEATTLE (AP) _ The first court hearing in the case between the city of Seattle and the NBA's Seattle SuperSonics has been set.

The team and the city will appear tomorrow before U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez.

Martinez scheduled the hearing to begin determining if the case should remain in federal court or be settled by a panel of arbitrators, as the team has suggested. The city has asked for a jury trial in the case.

The parties are disputing if the team's Oklahoma City-based ownership group, led by businessman Clay Bennett, can buy out the remainder of the Sonics' lease at KeyArena, which expires in 2010. The city says the team should not be allowed to do so.

Bennett has said if an acceptable proposal for a new arena to be primarily funded with public money is not completed by October 31st, he will file relocation papers with the NBA, with Oklahoma City as the Sonics' destination.