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Seattle officials are moving on bringing an NBA team back to Seattle by fall. And the Kings are being discussed.

Feb 5, 2012, 1:06 AM EDT


There have been better separations of cities from teams. But the move of the Seattle Supersonics from Seattle to become the Oklahoma City Thunder remains the worst in the history of the NBA. It’s not just the forty years of history, the success of the franchise, the passion of the fans, it’s the way the entire thing went down. Fans not just in Seattle but across the country are still angry over a perceived plot by David Stern alongside Clay Bennett to rob the city of its franchise.

Since then, there’s been a lot of talk about Seattle getting a team back, but nothing seemed substantive. But that may be about to change. The Seattle Times reports that a buyer is in place for a team… and there are plans to move forward with building a new arena, while bringing in a team to play in old Key Arena while the new facility is built. The timeline for all this could start as soon as this fall. From the Seattle Times:

A wealthy San Francisco hedge-fund manager and officials in the Seattle mayor’s office have been working behind the scenes for eight months to bring an NBA team back to the city as early as next fall and build a new arena, according to emails and documents that reveal a far more concerted effort than previously known.

A Dec. 13 agenda for a meeting between the parties shows they were talking about details such as a “Review of Basic Deal Structure,” “Financing Issues,” including “City Debt Capacity,” and “Security for Public Financing.”

The documents, released Friday to The Seattle Times under a public-disclosure request, also provide the first glimpse of how the largely unknown hedge-fund manager, 44-year-old Seattle native Christopher Hansen, approached the city about his desire to buy an NBA team and build an arena south of Safeco Field.

In an initial email laying out his vision, Hansen told city officials an arena could be built with minimal impact on taxpayers.

via Local News | Seattle sports-arena talks well under way, documents show | Seattle Times Newspaper.

OK, there are about a million parts to this, and the article lays out many of them so I suggest you head on over to that link to read the full thing. Among the items you’ll read there are things that involve how the city has to come up with a plan that profits the city thanks to a voter-approved initiative in recent years, and… the Sacramento Kings. Apparently the owners that are looking to steal back a team to replace the one that was stolen from them are looking at the Kings, who of course are involved in their own highly complex situation regarding a new arena to keep them in Sacramento.

In order for that to happen there would have be a decision on the part of the Maloofs to sell, something they have not indicated they are willing to do at this point. Their last initiative to move to Anaheim was blocked by the board of governors, and they may wind up getting a new arena, which paired with the new CBA and revenue sharing could stabilize their finances. But if Hansen and company get rolling with a big offer, you never know how things will work out.

It would be interesting to see public reaction to such a move. Everyone freaked out over Seattle losing its team while many feel small markets don’t deserve their teams. Sacramento Kings fans were supportive of the Sonics fans’ efforts to keep the team. But they could wind up losing theirs to Seattle if a number of things fall through. From here, though, it seems like there are too many obstacles that would have to befall Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson’s efforts to get concerned.

But one thing’s certain. The movement to return the Sonics is underway. It’s no longer just talk anymore.

  1. knicks4life - Feb 5, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    Move the lakers

  2. tn16 - Feb 5, 2012 at 1:31 AM

    They couldn’t keep the same name
    it would be a different franchise so the team should have a new name

  3. willardj - Feb 5, 2012 at 1:42 AM

    Move the Heat. It would be worth it just to see the look on LeBron’s face when he finds out he has to move from the beaches of Miami to rainy Seattle.

    • blueintown - Feb 5, 2012 at 11:03 AM

      Miami’s average annual rainfall totals are higher then Seattle.

      • blueintown - Feb 5, 2012 at 11:07 AM

        Sidenote: wasn’t trying to be a d%&k, just thought it was interesting.

    • willardj - Feb 5, 2012 at 1:27 PM

      It’s more drizzling in Seattle. It’s not a lot of heavy rainfall, which is why Miami gets more total inches in rain even though it rains more in Seattle.

  4. danielcp0303 - Feb 5, 2012 at 1:42 AM

    I’d love to see those green and white jerseys going up and down the court again. Wouldn’t be the same if it was the Seattle Rain or something

    • Matt Tucker - Feb 5, 2012 at 3:12 PM

      Better believe if Seattle gets a team back, it’ll be the Sonics. Part of the settlement between the city and the NBA was the right to keep the name, colors, and history of the team in the city. (Why they ever agreed to share the history with OKC is beyond me, though.) So when this happens – whichever team it is that sadly has to be uprooted – the Green and Gold will be back!

  5. goforthanddie - Feb 5, 2012 at 1:54 AM

    Gee, isn’t Herr Stern ruining-I mean running a team now? A team he needs to sell ASAP before he causes more trouble?

  6. thekingdave - Feb 5, 2012 at 2:39 AM

    As a Rockets fan, I absolutely despised the Sonics in the 90s. Just seeing Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton, Michael Cage, Detlef Schrempf, Hersey Hawkins, and Sam Perkins names scroll across the television made me cringe. However, they desperately need to be back in the NBA, but not with those dingy space needle plus burgundy unis of the late 90s and early 00s.

  7. wherezwaldo - Feb 5, 2012 at 2:41 AM

    send the Thunder back to Seattle, and give OKC whomever.

  8. weaselpuppy - Feb 5, 2012 at 2:54 AM

    don’t forget Xavier McDaniel and Nate McMillan….

  9. farvite - Feb 5, 2012 at 2:56 AM

    I would prefer the League stay in poor markets and die off.

  10. nothimagain - Feb 5, 2012 at 3:01 AM

    Will there be NHL at this new arena?

  11. trbowman - Feb 5, 2012 at 3:06 AM

    Here’s how Stern can solve this problem –

    Give Seattle the Bobcats, and after one season they’ll no longer want a basketball team.

  12. farvite - Feb 5, 2012 at 3:20 AM

    “Here’s how Stern can solve this problem..”

    I liked your joke..

    But Stern is the problem and it’s cause. He was a moron to abandon great financial markets like Seattle and Vancouver.

  13. sebstos29 - Feb 5, 2012 at 5:13 AM

    @ trboman
    you make me laugh so hard, that i start crying… you re damn right.

  14. seattlesuperchronic - Feb 5, 2012 at 5:57 AM

    I’m all chubbed up after reading that. I want my Sonics back!

  15. watermelon1 - Feb 5, 2012 at 7:02 AM

    Can it please be the Wizards!?? Take them away, lose most of the players, and build a real team around John Wall!

  16. bparmalee - Feb 5, 2012 at 7:05 AM

    Build the arena and then talk about bringing a team back. The reason the team left was because they couldnt get a new arena and you still want a NBA team to play at Key Arena for a year? The Kings arent moving to Seattle…. not when they have Anaheim to fall back on. If this guy really wants a team then let him buy the Hornets and ship them out to Seattle.

    • jalek - Feb 5, 2012 at 2:35 PM

      Why would the city do anything like that, just to let Bennett use his relocation committee chair position to block any move so a newer arena can be empty?

    • Matt Tucker - Feb 5, 2012 at 3:17 PM

      If you can nail an agreement to get a team while they’re building an arena, why wait? The Key (or whatever the name will be once they find someone to purchase the naming rights) is suitable for a season. It’s just not sustainable (still kind of a joke) for the long-term in the current SterNBA. I’d much rather get a firm commit on a team AND an arena at the same time rather than launch into an arena and have to wait another 5 years before a team materializes.

    • law1orde - Feb 5, 2012 at 6:19 PM

      To have the NHL and the NBA you have to pony up Seattle. Why do you think you lost the Sonics? Everybody else pays their way.

  17. tomshoe - Feb 5, 2012 at 8:20 AM

    Hellooooooooooo people. The Hornets are sitting right there, without an owner, Stern doing whatever it takes just to get some poor sap to buy them.

    I doubt the Kings are going to move to Seattle because the city of Anaheim is discussing putting in a new arena, and if that passes, they’re not going anywhere. Besides, they’re still a young team with lots of promise, even if they are chuckers. And they have Jimmer too, although he’s been less than great.

    Just take the Hornets or the Pistons. If you take a look at the Pistons attendance, it’s averaging about 12,700 people per game. The Palace of Auburn Hills seats 22,000. That’s just not enough fan support, even if the team is bad. In my opinion, if the people of a city aren’t willing to support their local team, even through the worst of times, maybe they don’t deserve them.

    • law1orde - Feb 5, 2012 at 6:25 PM

      New Orleans won’t come to play at Key Arena. It’s too old and small. Seattle is too financially strapped to build an arena or to send enough fans to attend the games. I don’t think Seattle can get there from here. Unfortunately you have to pay to play.

    • echech88 - Feb 6, 2012 at 10:58 AM

      Anaheim is not building a new arena. They are updating the Honda Center with the owner’s money

  18. AlohaMrHand - Feb 5, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    Why not the Hornets?They don’t have an owner and I’m not sure what the terms of the lease are at their arena but that would make the most sense.

  19. khuxford - Feb 5, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    I love how you can make the definitive statement that Kings fans supported Sonics fans when they lost their team. How’d we come up with that notion? Comment sections?

  20. jmclarkent - Feb 5, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    I’d love to see the following improbable scenario:

    – Owner purchases the Hornets, move them to Seattle, they are assimilated into the “Sonics”.
    – MJ is given back the name and colors of the “Charlotte Hornets”.
    – We all pretend like the “Charlotte Bobcats” never happened.

  21. ramblingalb - Feb 5, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    Seattle did not have an NBA arena, nor any plan to build one. They ignored the facts, and lost their team. The move was justified and OKC is better in every way.

    • okcallday - Feb 5, 2012 at 2:02 PM

      Except for the part where it’s in oklahoma.

      • law1orde - Feb 5, 2012 at 6:30 PM

        OKC isn’t having any trouble signing all it’s key players to long term deals. They seem to like living in OKC.

  22. deebo92 - Feb 5, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    First comment ever on probballtalk, this would be awesome! I hated seeing them leave Seattle. They have a great fan base who got shafted.

  23. farvite - Feb 5, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    OKC > Seattle?

    Fan support, maybe. But inferior in every other way. Especially in the most important category…. $$$$$$$

    Stern was a fool to allow the Sonics, and I’m somewhat ashamed that we will be taking him back in the future.

    • law1orde - Feb 5, 2012 at 6:34 PM

      I do hope Seattle gets an NBA and NHL franchise but Christopher Hansen will have to be able to build a 25,000 seat arena out of his back pocket in order for that to happen.

  24. halfcourthero - Feb 5, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    NOLA hornets here we come… Let’s go hornets, I mean sonics lol

  25. emeraldcityfan - Feb 5, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Clay Bennett is a douche. And a liar. At the same time a lot of blame for losing the Sonics should be shouldered by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. He was the one who sold them to that trash in the first place. I hope we don’t have to steal someone else’s team to get basketball back here. We would be no better than the carpetbaggers that stole or team in the first place.

    • goforthanddie - Feb 5, 2012 at 3:12 PM

      Funny, Seattle had every chance to keep the Sonics, but bet the team wouldn’t move. Seattle had years to put together a new arena, they didn’t bother, they lost. Put the blame where it belongs.

      • Matt Tucker - Feb 5, 2012 at 3:21 PM

        Nevermind the fact that the city had just done an upgrade/overhaul of KeyArena not even a decade prior per SterNBA “suggestion” and was still paying that off.

    • okcfan - Jun 7, 2012 at 1:33 PM

      Why hate on Clay Bennett? I just watched the film Sonicgate, and looks to me like if you want to blame anyone for the Sonics moving, you should blame, the citizens of Washington, the politicians of the state of Washington, King County, and the city of Seattle. Washington state approved money for the NFL and MLB, but when the NBA says we need to upgrade Key Arena of build a new arena, they were shot down, even when Howard Schutlz owned the team. Bennett told everyone from the start that the team would stay in Seattle if there was a viable arena situated, if not he would move the team. Why blame a businessman for wanting to make a profit on his investment? Bennett even agreed to pay $30 million dollars more to Seattle if the state of Washington would approve a bill to rectify the arena situation five years after the team left Seattle…..the Washington Senate didn’t even put it to vote.
      Now Seattle wants a team, any team, from any city, they don’t where it comes from. So I guess it’s ok to take a team from somewhere else, but don’t you dare take anything from Seattle. The state of Washington has more millionaires then anywhere else….where we these people when the team was for sale….Get Over It!
      THUNDER UP!!!

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