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Women's Hoops

The latest news and analysis on college and pro women's basketball.

May 17, 2007 at 7:39 AM

Keeping up appearances

Sonics president Lenny Wilkens is covering for new owner Clay Bennett around the Storm camp, too. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that of Bennett’s $350 million purchase of the Sonics and Storm, the NBA slice is the more important piece. And so far, Bennett has been more visible with the men than the women.
The Storm held its annual tip-off breakfast in Renton on Wednesday and Bennett did not attend. He was at the Sonics’ posh affair at The Fairmount Olympic Hotel in Seattle last fall, reluctantly speaking with a horde of media afterward. To be fair, the sale was fresh and I believe it was our first face-to-face since the initial July announcement. And Bennett has attended only a few Sonics games.
Still, Storm coach Anne Donovan hasn’t heard from Bennett and can only hope to see him “in the early part of the season.”
According to Wilkens, it won’t be Saturday’s home opener, a game attended by all of the Storm’s former owners in the past. Wilkens said he’s going to see Bennett in New York next week regarding business (he wouldn’t share any details about the current Sonics coach and general manager search) and will pin down the primary owner’s schedule to return to Seattle. But Wilkens expects Bennett to be at a few games.
For now, it’ll be Wilkens representing the upper brass. He’s attended plenty of Storm games in the past and will bring his granddaughters to opening night.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
But the new owners haven’t slighted the Storm financially, a sign we media types look for as clues about interest or preparation to close up shop and move out. The teams will most likely still relocate, but the Storm is going out in style from the fancy full-color media guide (more on that later) to the dusted-off locker rooms, team promotions, and money spent on players during the offseason.
Yet, that all probably totaled $1.5 million – a round-trip tank of gas to fill Bennett’s jet from his Oklahoma City base to Seattle. OK, not really, but showing up would mean more from an owner who says he enjoys women’s basketball and refuses to sell the franchise despite interest from the community.

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