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Originally published November 9, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified November 9, 2007 at 11:46 AM

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The Oklahoman: NBA Commissioner David Stern criticizes Seattle politicians

NBA Commissioner David Stern on Thursday night criticized Seattle politicians yet again for refusing to build the Sonics a new arena, this...

The Oklahoman

NBA Commissioner David Stern on Thursday night criticized Seattle politicians yet again for refusing to build the Sonics a new arena, this time adding that the city's continued lack of support for a new facility could result in the permanent loss of the NBA in Washington.

Stern spoke to Oklahoma City reporters an hour before presenting Sonics chairman Clay Bennett into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. During his eight-minute press conference, Stern argued that Bennett and his Oklahoma-City based ownership group have done everything possible to secure a new arena deal in Seattle. Stern, however, called those same efforts of Seattle politicians "hostile."

"Obviously if there's not a building whenever it is that the Sonics move, then the (NBA) owners would consider the relocation application. And if the Sonics do move, that would be too bad, because the NBA would be very unlikely to have a team in Seattle again."

Last week Bennett filed an application with the NBA to relocate the Sonics and WNBA's Storm to Oklahoma City. The Sonics' future, however, is tied to the result of their pending federal court case with the city of Seattle in which the team is seeking to escape the final two years of its arena contract.

"I don't think it's a question of whether Clay put in the effort, because I know he made the best intensive lobbying efforts to date," Stern said. "But who knows, maybe some last minute wonderful angel will drop into the laps of the people of Seattle and come up with an arena plan and funding for it."

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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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