Silver: Seattle will be on a “short list” for expansion

Photo Credit: Kicks on Fire

NBA commissioner Adam Silver surprised no one when he said that Seattle would be on the shortlist for expansion when the league expands, which is inevitable. The commissioner made his comments during an interview with The Player Tribune.

For those of you who can’t watch the video, the quote about expansion is below.

“I think it’s just a question of when the right time is to seriously start thinking about expansion,” Silver said in an interview on The Player’s Tribune. “Think about the state we’re in the league right now where [it is] amazing to me that, coming off of these Finals, you have some fans saying, ‘There’s only one good team in the league.’

And I’m thinking, well, if people really believe that even though we have 450 of the best players in the world, and 450 players can only form one really good team, probably doesn’t make sense to expand in terms of dilution of talent.

Now I don’t really believe that, and I think these things correct themselves. And I don’t want to put a precise timeline on it, but it’s inevitable at some point we’ll start looking at growth of franchises, that’s always been the case in this league, and Seattle will no doubt be on a short list of cities we’ll look at.” — Transcribed by 

The NBA has been dropping hints that expansion will occur since the league voted to keep the Kings in Sacramento back in 2012. These hints included an escalator clause in the league’s massive new TV contract (agreed to in 2014). By getting these escalator clauses into the contract, the league did its best to guarantee that revenue would be not lost, even as teams see their percentage of revenue decrease — the escalator increase the amount of money incoming into the league mid contract.

For Seattle to become a viable target for NBA expansion, it’s going to have to sort out its arena situation. The city is currently weighing two proposals on what it will think will be best for the city’s future, as well as what it thinks will be likely to secure an NBA and NHL franchise. These two options are yet another renovation of the Key Arena or Sonics Arena in Sodo.

It’s been hard to watch as the City of Seattle continues to attempt to keep the Key Arena alive with another renovation, while Hansen’s Sodo arena is (apparently) left withering on the vine.

Hansen’s proposal has already completed its environmental impact study, its traffic study, and already has a traffic mitigation plan in place — added in 2015. Which means that it’s further along in the process, and closer to shovel ready, than the Key Arena proposal. Because it’s closer to shovel ready, the Sodo site seems like it’s closest to be bringing back the Sonics…even if the NBA isn’t ready to expand at this time.

Thanks to commissioner Silver, we now know that the league considers expansion to be inevitable; and that they want to be back in Seattle.

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