http://www.njbiz.com/article/20110509/NJBIZ01/110509897The NBA Oklahoma City Thunder, with its Rumble the Bison mascot, has made inquiries about a possible move to the Prudential Center when the Nets move to Brooklyn.
A move would come as a jolt for Thunder fans. Team Chairman Clay Bennett, an Oklahoma City businessman, bought the Seattle SuperSonics in 2006, then confirmed the suspicions of many Sonics fans by relocating the team to the Sooner State in 2008. Bennett cited a need for a more modern arena in Seattle as his reason for the move — something Newark could easily provide. The Thunder currently play at Oklahoma City Arena, a 9-year-old facility that received $121 million in taxpayer-funded upgrades just as the team arrived.
Interestingly, Bennett was recently named chair of the NBA relocation committee that evaluated the potential relocation of the Sacramento Kings to Anaheim, Calif. Last week, the Kings announced that they would stay put, at least for one more year.
The NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder denied it made inquiries about a possible move to the Prudential Center in Newark when the Nets move to Brooklyn.
The team was reacting to an item in NJBIZ's May 9 Grapevine column about the inquiries.
It's "100 percent wrong and untrue," said Dan Mahoney, vice president of corporate communications for the Thunder. "There's a wire crossed with your sources."
Mahoney said he talked directly to team Chairman Clay Bennett about the NJBIZ report. He said the team's eight local owners defer to Bennett. Mahoney noted the Thunder have only been in Oklahoma for three years, are doing well and would have no interest in moving.
"Of all the teams who might think of moving, it's not the Oklahoma City Thunder," Mahoney said.
The Prudential Center did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Brick City Development Corp. referred requests for comment to the office of Newark Mayor Cory Booker, which did not have an official comment by time of publication