(LOS ANGELES) - After 41 years in the NBA, the Seattle SuperSonics are no more.
The Sonics are moving to Oklahoma City next season after settling their two-year lease dispute on Key Arena just before a judge was set to rule.
The city of Seattle will be paid $45 million up front and Sonics owner Clay Bennet will pay an additional $30 million in 5 years if the city is unable to secure another NBA team.
The franchise will have a new name and colors in Oklahoma. Seattle will get to keep the team's name and colors if and when they get a new franchise.
The announcement came just hours before a federal judge was to issue a ruling in a lawsuit between the city and the Sonics over the KeyArena lease. The city had sued the Sonics to try to force the team to continue playing in Seattle through the end of the lease in 2010.
NBA Commissioner David Stern released a statement saying "...while the decision has been made to relocate the Sonics to Oklahoma City, the NBA continues to regard Seattle as a first-class NBA city that is capable of serving as home for another NBA team."
Stern said that the return of NBA basketball to Seattle would depend on a KeyArena renovation. The city-owned arena is scheduled to undergo a 300 million dollar renovation this coming year.
The Sonics had played in Seattle since 1967, winning it only NBA title in 1979.
Courtesy Reuters and The Associated Press.