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If you build it… Stern says the NBA could return to Seattle

Feb 8, 2012, 9:25 AM EDT


If you build it… David Stern will at least think about it.

There are efforts afoot build a new arena in Seattle, something that the city’s mayor confirmed. Now, I’ve talked about winning the lottery and retiring to Maui next to Don Nelson, just like this arena that’s a long way from reality. But there will be no NBA (or NHL) teams in Seattle without a new arena to replace the Key, and these efforts seem serious.

If a new arena were built, the NBA would seriously consider a return Seattle, David Stern told the Salt Lake Tribune, via the Seattle Times.

“We had heard reports of some interest in Seattle and the name of the person who’s associated with it is not totally unknown to me,” Stern said in a wide-ranging interview Monday with The Salt Lake Tribune at the league’s headquarters in New York City.

“I think he came in and I met with him, it must be a year ago,” Stern said in response to a question referring to Christopher Hansen, the 44-year-old Seattle native who is leading the effort. “Just a general conversation; he was brought in by a mutual friend. We know nothing of the specifics…”

“And everyone says to us, ‘Well, would you consider going back?’ Of course, if they have a building. And so that’s where it’s left. We have no involvement. But we certainly are — if anyone asks us, we tell them what we know and we’re happy to talk to them.”

Seattle residents thought there were better ways to spend public money than a new arena. Oklahoma City residents voted to tax themselves to get an arena done. Throw in Clay Bennett’s deception and Howard Shultz and you have a good Seattle fan base that got screwed out of a team.

But if an arena gets done, don’t be shocked to first see teams use the new building as leverage to get better deals where they are, then eventually some team to pack up and move there.

  1. rgledz - Feb 8, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    Screw David Stern. He never should have let that team leave in the first place. Everything that happens is based on his agenda and not what’s good for the NBA. He has his own personal grudges that he holds for certain teams and he does his best to screw them if he doesn’t like them. He’s an over confident jack a$$ who thinks he’s greater than God. So I’lll finish the same way that I started…..screw David Stern

    • sknut - Feb 8, 2012 at 11:32 AM

      I couldn’t have said it better.

  2. raven410 - Feb 8, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    Forget Seattle..Baltimore needs to build a new arena so we can have an NBA team. Baltimore is a much better sports town than Seattle.

    • philtration - Feb 8, 2012 at 2:28 PM

      Remind me of why the Colts left town for Indy and then the Browns left Cleveland to play in Baltimore.
      Do you really believe that stadium deals had nothing to do with it?

      The NBA already has a team only 39 miles away from Baltimore in D.C. and no one cares. They average about 15 to 16 thousand a game.
      If you believe that they will put a 2nd team in the area with one already rotting on the vine in your own backyard then you are dreaming.

  3. detroitcityryda - Feb 8, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Jew stern runs the monopoly ,that’s why in Christmas he makes the players wear star of David on their kits so he shows who owns them .

  4. law1orde - Feb 8, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    Seattle fans would rather hang out at their annual Moisture Festival than see an NBA game. The Seattle voters were smart to vote not to help pay for an arena unless it is profitable. Since none of them would ever go see an NBA game a new arena could never be profitable.

    Stern was right to allow the move to OKC where it’s sold out to the rafters for every game. Seattle just didn’t care except for a few vocal (and now embittered) fans. OKC built a new arena and promptly filed the seats and money started flowing into the NBA coffers from the previously unproductive franchise, so neglected by Seattle.

    Blame Stern and Clay Bennett all you want but the NBA is a business and a business cannot continue to lose money year after year and has to cut it’s losses where it can. I doubt that Stern will ever agree to an NBA return to Seattle since even a new arena would not guarantee that the fans would attend games there plus look at how the few remaining fans refer to Stern. They call him a criminal, The Devil, Satan, etc.

    If I were Stern, I would do everything in my power to deny Seattle a franchise because of the personal vilification. Go ahead Seattle fans, continue to vilify, Stern, Clay Bennett and OKC as though they stole something from you. You know that you handed OKC the franchise on a silver platter and not with a .45 to your head.

  5. AlohaMrHand - Feb 8, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    stern is an arrogant pompous elitist who looks down on both the fans and the players.Can you imagine when and if the city of Seattle gets an NBA team back and he shows up for their first game?Which he will expecting to be seen as some sort of hero because he acts as if he invented the NBA.

  6. jedicurt - Feb 8, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    “Seattle residents thought there were better ways to spend public money than a new arena. Oklahoma City residents voted to tax themselves to get an arena done.”

    i think that pretty much sums it up. they lost the first team cause they didn’t want to build a new arena, so to get another team, will take the new arena that they didn’t want to build 5 years ago

    • sbsteamy - Feb 8, 2012 at 3:50 PM

      It’s not that Seattle residents didn’t think a new arena should be built, it’s that they didn’t think taxpayers should have footed over $400 million of the $500 million bill, especially after they spent roughly $100 million renovating Key Arena just over ten years earlier.

      If you’ve read any of the articles covering Hansen’s involvement, you’d know that he is pitching a proposal that “doesn’t require incremental taxes or direct public funding.” So, no, they’re not taking the same steps they didn’t take 5 years ago.

      God forbid a city stands up for itself and refuses to allow NBA owners to pillage them of taxpayer money when more pressing issues like healthcare, transportation, education are higher up on the priority list. What happened in Seattle doesn’t convey a city’s apathy for professional basketball – it reveals the greed of NBA owners and a commissioner who spurned a loyal city in favor of his billionaire buddies.

  7. jb24fan - Feb 8, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    Read Bill Simmons mailbag from right before the Sonics left. He let all the fans write letters about why they loved the Sonics, and wanted them to stay. It was heartbreaking/amazing to read or watch (since about half the videos linked to Kemp dunks, and clips of the NBA Finals against the Bulls). There are so many places that don’t deserve a team half as much as Seattle.

  8. fouldwimmerlaik - Feb 8, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    I find it funny how cities refuse to build their teams new arenas until after they leave.

  9. goforthanddie - Feb 8, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Stern said Seattle would get another team ages ago, as in the day after the Sonics ceased to be. Absolutely nothing new here, move along.

  10. dbara43 - Feb 9, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    Key Arena was completely redone only a decade before the team left. The problem in Seattle was that Howard Schmuck and his ownership group (which numbered over 200) was totally undercapitalized and never should have been approved as owners by Stern and the NBA in the first place. When they (the ownership group, not the arena) couldn’t keep up with the escalating economics of the NBA they needed a way out, either a new arena, which was always part of the 20-year plan, or by selling to new owners. In stepped Mr. Stern, like the good little pimp he is, and he whored out the Sonics and their fans to his favorite John, Clay Bennett. End of story.

    Time for a new era, a new team, and a new venue. And the NHL too.

  11. bnwpnw - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:28 AM

    For the record, a good majority of Seattle citizens are now hostile to the NBA. Stern poisoned that well for years, maybe for decades.

    Slapping a “Sonics” moniker on a sickly Kings team and dragging it back to Seattle for few years is going to have zero effect on that. Guaranteed fail.

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