HoopsHype Clay Bennett rumors

January 25, 2014 Updates
August 13, 2013 Updates

The saying goes “One can judge a man by the company he keep.” That gem of a quote is credited to Euripides, 480 B.C. Yet, it could just as easily apply to Oklahoma City Thunder chairman Clay Bennett. Since bringing an NBA franchise to his home state, the Oklahoma City native has stayed pretty much in the shadows, letting general manager Sam Presti be the public face of the organization. However, the business mogul and civic leader gave Oklahomans a rare glimpse into his personal life when he was inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. What stood out to them most about his induction was who he chose to present him. He went with NBA legend Bill Russell. Bennett didn’t choose the Hall of Fame center just to show off. He did it for the simplest of reasons. Russell is a friend. “I have had a very nice relationship with Bill,” Bennett said. “I thought it might be fun to bring him to Oklahoma. And let others hear and enjoy him as I have. He was very gracious to accept. I am honored he would be here.” Tahlequah Daily Press

August 12, 2013 Updates

Russell is one of the most respected and admired athletes to ever come through the NBA. He is known as a man who chooses his friends carefully. “I am proud to say that Clay is a friend of mine,” Russell said. “The friendship is based on the fact that when we think about each other, we never think about what he can do for me, but what I can do for him, and if I am able to do anything for him. That’s the way friendships are built.” Claremore Daily Progress

Bennett still remembers what it was like for him in those early years when he and the Professional Basketball Club purchased the Seattle SuperSonics in 2006. It was an established franchise with an NBA title under its belt and solid fan base in the Pacific Northwest. But running a team in Washington State was not his dream. Amid controversy and being labeled a villain by Seattle fans, Bennett found a way to transplant the Sonics to Oklahoma City, changing the name in the process. While that period was difficult, Bennett now cherishes that time because it gave the franchise a foundation to build upon. “I am gratified by that,” Bennett said. “I am proud of our people. Especially proud of the players who were at the center of the focus when we moved here. We learned a lot in those early days. I think you do learn more through difficult times and we certainly had them. But we are focused on doing better and getting better. Keeping this going.” Claremore Daily Progress

August 5, 2013 Updates

But Bennett agreed to speak to The Oklahoman in advance of the Hall of Fame induction. And it's clear he's thrilled with what has become of his hometown. “I have always been proud of Oklahoma City,” Bennett said. “I have always been proud it's been my home, but there were those years when I knew we were an inferior place to live, compared to many other cities throughout the country. We did not have the assets and amenities that others had. And I had a desire to be impactful in terms of supporting our city and helping it develop and grow. And was fortunate with many, many others to have that opportunity and see some of these things come together.” Oklahoman

May 21, 2013 Updates
April 28, 2013 Updates

The 12 owners on the NBA's relocation/finance committee will make the recommendation on the future of the Kings: • Peter Holt, Spurs (chairman of the board of governors) • Micky Arison, Heat • Clay Bennett, Thunder • Jeanie Buss, Lakers • James Dolan, Knicks • Wyc Grousbeck, Celtics • Ted Leonsis, Wizards • Greg Miller, Jazz • Robert Sarver, Suns • Herb Simon, Pacers • Larry Tanenbaum, Raptors • Glen Taylor, Timberwolves Sacramento Bee

January 14, 2013 Updates

The call took place on Tuesday – one day before Yahoo! Sports reported the finalizing of a deal – and informed several league owners that the Hansen-Ballmer Seattle group would purchase 65 percent of the Kings, sources said. The league office told members of the relocation committee that the non-binding agreement would constitute 53 percent of the franchise owned by the Maloof family and an additional 12 percent from minority owner Bob Hernreich. The sale price of $525 million is considered an overall valuation of the franchise. The committee is comprised of several NBA owners, including committee chair Clay Bennett of Oklahoma City. Yahoo! Sports

October 26, 2012 Updates

From the league office, pressure on the Maloofs to sell has been growing, sources said – just as hopes for a new Sacramento arena have been fading. Seattle Sonics fans will never forgive Stern for his complicit role in Clay Bennett's deception to move that franchise to Oklahoma City, but make no mistake: Stern desperately wants to return the NBA to one of its great markets and wants it for his own measure of vindication before he leaves office. Yahoo! Sports

August 8, 2012 Updates
June 23, 2012 Updates

Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks says he hopes to meet with team chairman Clay Bennett and general manager Sam Presti in "the next couple of days" to discuss a new contract. Brooks pointed out Saturday that no one has had down time since training camp started in early December, following the lockout that condensed the season. NBA.com

June 22, 2012 Updates
June 7, 2012 Updates
February 26, 2012 Updates

NBA Commissioner David Stern, accompanied by Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver and four members of the relocation committee, emerged from behind closed doors at 4:46 local time. Stern and the four owners - Glen Taylor (Minnesota Timberwolves), Clay Bennett (Oklahoma City), Mickey Arison (Miami) and Greg Miller (Utah Jazz) - were off to a board of governors meeting at the Amway Center. Stern said he planned to attend tonight's All-Star Game and then return to the hotel and rejoin the meeting. He said the good news is "we're still talking." Sacramento Bee

January 23, 2012 Updates

Many have wondered over the past two seasons how the Thunder could possibly retain its core, which quickly became cluttered with talented parts. But the picture finally is beginning to crystallize. And in between pre-written paragraphs praising Westbrook, Presti on Sunday provided the most telling answer as to how it will be done. “Days like today are made possible because of our owner, Clay Bennett, who's shown unwavering support in our efforts to build and sustain an elite basketball organization,” Presti said. “We're fortunate to have an owner as committed as Mr. Bennett is.” Oklahoman

December 25, 2011 Updates

In observing Oklahomans in the community as well as from courtside, Davis said one aspect that defines the people of the state is their willingness to take a risk to try to make something happen. He points to agricultural and oil and gas. But he doesn't stop there. “Oklahoma City took a huge risk, defined the term ‘leap of faith,' when it built the arena hoping to land a professional sports team,” he said. “And it took a spectacular series of events, starting with Hurricane Katrina, for anyone outside to take the notion seriously. Folks like Ron Norick and Mick Cornett and Clay Bennett believed, and here we are.” Oklahoman

July 30, 2011 Updates

That has been the mission for Payton, perhaps the franchise's greatest player. He is trying to muster up support from local leaders to build a new arena. "We're not able to talk about a team coming back here yet because the five-year deal is not over yet. That was part of the deal when Clay Bennett took the team," Payton said. "When that happens then you can go to (commissioner) David Stern and say, 'Look, this is what we have.' We need to get an arena here first. "We all know that this is a great city, a beautiful city, but NBA is about show. You got to show them. The history is rich here. The team was here for a long time. Then we broke it. We just gave the team away. This city needs basketball." ESPN.com

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