Sonics Decision Due Tonight

A federal judge is scheduled to rule tonight in the city of Seattle's lawsuit that seeks to bind the owners of the SuperSonics to a lease to play at KeyArena until 2010.

U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman is scheduled to post her decision on the court's Web site at 6 p.m. Oklahoma time.

Pechman heard testimony from local officials, team officials and others in the 6-day proceeding in Seattle. Closing arguments were presented on Thursday.

Seattle officials claimed the Sonics have to fulfill a "specific performance" clause and play out the lease at the NBA's smallest venue.

The team countered that owner Clay Bennett should be able to write a check to satisfy the final two years of the lease because specific performance shouldn't apply in a garden-variety dispute between tenant and landlord.

The NBA has given the OK for Bennett to move the team to Oklahoma City.

Whatever the ruling, either side could appeal the decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.


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