The Seattle SuperSonics might be returning before the end of the MOU between Chris Hansen, the Seattle City Council, and the King County Council. According to SonicsRising, the NBA is discussing expanding the league into Seattle and Louisville.
The article addresses three major situations that need to be resolved before the NBA can formally go through the expansion process. Those three situations are:
- Resolve the Clippers ownership situation (Pending Sterling’s legal action)
- Finalize the new TV contract (Currently being negotiated)
- Get the SODO Arena to a shovel ready state (In the middle of the environmental review)
None of this should be surprising to Sonics fans, as the TV contract and the arena have been the main issues blocking the team from returning, since the NBA (rightfully) shot down Hansen’s attempt to bring the Sacramento King to Seattle. And the Clippers situation as been a situation in flux — and the center of the NBA off-season — since March.
The most surprising part of the NBA expansion rumors comes from the SonicsRising sources:
“A league source who asked to remain anonymous has told Sonics Rising that “there’s a good chance, not definitively so, but good that Seattle and another expansion city will be added to the next TV contract. The Seattle market is bigger than most think. Lot of untapped revenue we are losing out on there” (emphasis ours).”
According to this rumor, the other expansion city is probably going to be Louisville, Kentucky.
The City of Louisville makes a ton of sense for the NBA when you consider the fact that they loyally supported the ABA Colonels until they folded following the merge with the NBA. Louisville also has an NBA ready arena in the KFC Yum! Center (yes, that’s really its name).
It is also important to note that the University of Louisville has first right of refusal on all dates between November and March — college basketball season.
This rumor is promising for getting the arena, redeveloping the stadium district, and getting the Sonics back to Seattle. It’s also another rumor that is going to get the hopes of thousands of people in Seattle up…without any real timeline for expansion.
That being said, the authors of the piece are guys I trust…and thy wouldn’t be publishing this without having double checked everything. Plus, it just makes sense for the NBA to be discussing expansion as a solution for the Sonics situation.