The departure of the Seattle SuperSonics in 2008 was the craptastic start to one big black hole that was the sports scene in the Emerald City; the M’s lost 101-games, the Hawks sent future Hall of Fame Coach Mike Holmgren out with a 12-loss season, the Husky football did the best thing ever by losing all of their games, the Cougar football team wasn’t much better, and to top it all off soccer fans still had to wait a year for the Sounders to join the MLS.
The Sounders have been a huge success, the Seahawks look like Superb Owl contenders, and the Mariners are…well the Mariners. That leaves us with than fact that Seattle doesn’t have a NBA team; and the fact that Hansen’s attempt to buy and relocate the kings has failed.
That isn’t necessarily a bad thing either, after all have you taken a look at how the King’s roster is constructed? It makes Paul Graham look like a genius when it comes to roster construction.
Do you really want to have to watch another roster deconstruction for the return of the Sonics? Especially since the Hawks and M’s had to go through it in 2010. It would drive me crazy; thankfully, an expansion franchise gives you a chance to build from the ground up and not have to worry about previous baggage.
Fortunately, Seattle makes an excellent case for an expansion franchise.
In Chris Hansen, Steve Ballmer, and the Nordstrom brothers you have in ownership group that retiring NBA commisioner David Stern has called “prototypical NBA owners”; an arena plan that is on the books for five years; and a fan base that will pack a couple thousand people into a square for a rally to try and bring their dead team back. Also, all of the reasons that Seattlites were saying the NBA would choose to relocate the Kings up to Seattle instead of keeping them in Sacramento also make great points for an expansion franchise.
Seattle is home to four (seven if you include Bellevue and Sammamish) fortune 500 companies, and multiple other businesses that would love to advertise with the Sonics and purchase a suite for a season or two. There is the fact that Seattle is ripe for a major league sport during the winter months; and that there is a huge local TV deal waiting for any one of the winter sports leagues to take advantage of it.
What that all means it that the new Sonics will be a revenue payee, not a sharer.
That makes it really hard for the NBA to turn down expanding to a market that supported it’s original franchise so well for 41 seasons (and that includes a $100 million renovation to the Seattle Center Coliseum in 1995). Also, judging by Stern and Silver’s comments during their press conference in Dallas a couple weeks ago, they(and the league) understand all of this.