Seattle to potentially get another basketball team? What a bittersweet moment for a Seattle fan.

Ben Bagamery
Ben Bagamery
Editor

Every basketball fan in Seattle remembers when the Sonics were stolen from us -- ripped away from the city that loved them, and, in retrospect, right on the cusp of becoming great once more. The Sonics had already drafted most of what would become the core of the young Thunder, picking up Durant in 2007 and Westbrook and Ibaka in 2008, right before the team moved.

Now it looks like Seattle might have a chance to get a team back. An ownership group from Seattle is in negotiations with the owners of the Kings (a franchise that only had 75% attendance in the league's smallest stadium last year) to move the team to Seattle.

On the one hand, a basketball team in Seattle would be outstanding. Seattle's a basketball town from way back. But the Kings aren't the Sonics -- they've got their own history and traditions, their own passionate fan base who will be gutted if this deal goes through. Is it really fair to steal a team from another town because it was done to us in the past?

Cory Davis
Cory Davis
Columnist

The NBA is sick. The entire system is designed to exploit taxpayers and players for the benefit of the silver-spoon ownership. The loss of the Sonics was just the most visible consequence of David Stern's pathologically capitalistic puppetry. There is no ethically acceptable way to get an NBA team back in Seattle because the Sonics should never have left. Key Arena is perfectly adequate and in fact, has the best sight lines of any arena anywhere. Any claims by ownership that fancy suites are required to make a profit in a large and affluent market like Seattle are total B.S.

That said, I'm a basketball fan and a Seattleite, and the NBA is the highest level of men's play in the world. I'm an NBA addict. But I only download games illegally because I refuse to give David Stern a cent of my money. I don't really care what city a team is from, I root for the players and coaches I like, period. If I start to think about anything beyond that while I'm watching, it ruins the fun. The new Seattle team will just be another team to me. It sure as hell won't be the Sonics.

Red State Hoops: The Oklahoma City Thunder and the value of Seattle's rage

Ben Bagamery
Ben Bagamery
Editor

Cory -- I'm so conflicted about this. You're right, they won't be the Sonics, at least not at the start. It'll take years, at least, until the franchise feels like something that was built in Seattle. An expansion team would be better, but there's really not enough top-tier talent in the league to support even the number of teams there currently are -- expansion doesn't sound reasonable.

It's so tough to see what could have been sitting in OKC, developing players we drafted while still in Seattle and competing for a championship to a sold-out house every night. Yes, they've got a rabid fanbase but they've never had to contend with adversity. Can you imagine what Seattle would be like if this was the current Sonics team? I get chills.

I honestly feel terrible for the fans in Sacramento, but the Maloofs need to be out of this business

Cory Davis
Cory Davis
Columnist

Really, the only thing that could even begin to make things right (because let's face it, buying the team from the Maloofs is shitty but what happened here in 2008 was evil) would be to get our franchise back from OKC. And do you really want to root for DeMarcus Cousins? I sure as hell don't. Add to that the fact that I can't afford to go to any games at all, and this new deal means little to nothing to me.

Ben Bagamery
Ben Bagamery
Editor

People on the internet have reliable sources saying it's a done deal. Wow. I'm not 100% sure how I feel.

Krithic Annamalai
Krithic Annamalai
Elite Columnist

I honestly feel terrible for the fans in Sacramento, but the Maloofs need to be out of this business. We've heard talks about them moving to Anaheim, then we've heard rumors about them staying in Sacramento. The Maloofs can't keep doing this to the organization. Whether or not the Kings leave for Seattle, the Maloofs need to be gone!

Arka Ray
Arka Ray
Senior Analyst

First off, everyone needs to watch the full cut of Sonicsgate before their take on whether what happened to Seattle is comparable to what is about to happen to Sacramento. It's not comparable.

The Maloofs have had multiple chances to right the ship, Kevin Johnson has done everything he can as the city's mayor who is an actual fan of the Kings (Johnson used to play pro basketball) but the situation with the Kings in Sacramento is simply untenable. The Kings will not contend unless they get fresh ownership, and the team is built from ground-up. The best thing that can happen to the team, as Krithic mentioned, is to get a new ownership.

Now as far as moving to Seattle is concerned: The situation is very different from Sonicsgate because in this case, it's well understood that if the team is sold to the Hansen-Ballmer group, then it will be moved to Seattle. Whereas Clay F'ing Bennett flat out lied about his intentions with the Sonics and there was no reason other than pure greed that had Seattle lose its beloved team.

It's been obvious for a while now that the Kings were living in Sacramento on borrowed time. Barring a miracle that actually happened, they would've been playing in Anaheim right now. Therefore, though I sympathize with Sacramento and its fans, if the Kings have to move to survive, then I am glad that it's to Seattle.

Sal Erickson
Sal Erickson
Senior Columnist

As a fan of Seattle sports, while I'm happy that we're getting a team back, I have to agree with Cory that the current Kings aren't the team that Seattle fans want. However, I think the new ownership group intend to rebuild the team from ground-up (I certainly hope they do) to bring it in line with the Sonics' history and tradition. Even if the team plays in Seattle next year, they'll essentially be the Undead Kings rather than the Seatte Supersonics. However, if a good head coach and front office are installed (I'm sure Paul Allen will be at hand to advice Ballmer and co.), then I can see the team being built into something Seattle fans can be proud of in a few years.

Dean Lake
Dean Lake
Editor

Salvador, you don't want Paul Allen giving advice to anyone. His glory years in Portland are over and he's been going through GM's like a hot knife through butter. He's become a little paranoid over the years, firing anyone who slights him in the least. We love him here in Portland because he would spend the money to improve the team and the facilities. But we haven't really felt he's had control of things for quite some time.

Ben Bagamery
Ben Bagamery
Editor

Ugh, this deal is driving me crazy. This article seems to indicate that some sort of crazy bidding war has started up, with groups in Sacramento trying to hold on to their team. I just wish it'd get done one way or the other -- the suspense is killing me.

Arka Ray
Arka Ray
Senior Analyst

I wonder what the evaluation criteria are for who the owner should be? Is it completely up to the Maloofs and David Stern? Stern seems to be pally with Hansen, but the article says he's also for giving the California group a chance to match the Hanser-Ballmer offer: Wonder who he would side with, all else being equal.

It's probably best to assume the worst for Seattle and then be pleasantly surprised if things do end up working in our favor.

Asa Beal
Asa Beal
Senior Analyst

The history of American sports is the history of various fan bases getting screwed over. I know the Sonics example feels very cruel-hearted, especially since the team went on to become a contender, but saying the Kings aren't really the team Seattle wants?? Come on, you got an NBA team! Sure they're the Kings now, but heck, re-branding happens at lightning speeds. It only takes one great draft pick to turn around a franchise (or one bad one, ahem, Oden). Take heart: this team will win your hearts and build a legacy in its own way.

Cory Davis
Cory Davis
Columnist

Stern has said he wants to get an NBA team back in Seattle before he finally does us all a favor and gets the hell out, and this is his shot. He wants the team to go to Seattle. It's too large and affluent a market not to have an NBA team. That said, I don't trust the man as far as I can throw him, and ultimately he cares about one thing and one thing only: lining his own pockets. It seemed like the Seattle deal was for sure, and now he's giving CA bidders "a chance to match Hansen's offer." OK, dude. What. Ever. This is why I don't give a shit about all this stuff and just download games illegally. I sort of view the league as existing entirely inside my computer.

Travis Jones
Travis Jones
Columnist

NBA needs to decrease in size. A lack of true superstars means a lot of small markets with bad teams and no interest. You can keep shifting teams from NO to CHA to SEA but it won't change the state of the league.

Ben Bagamery
Ben Bagamery
Editor

Exactly, Travis. The league would be much, much more exciting with 24 or 26 teams than 30, regardless of where those teams play.

Cory Davis
Cory Davis
Columnist

Why does the league need to decrease in size? If the talent were evenly spread out, it wouldn't matter. The problem isn't too many teams, it's the way Stern runs the league.

Asa Beal
Asa Beal
Senior Analyst

I have to agree with Cory. The NFL doesn't have the same problem and that's 32 teams of what 60 players. And MLB teams have twice the players of the NBA, and we're not even talking farm systems. This giant, beautiful country of ours has tons and tons of basketball talent, plus the international scene is so rich that every year we get more and more quality int'l players. Surely that's enough talent for more than 24 teams of 10-12 players??

Arka Ray
Arka Ray
Senior Analyst

Have to agree with Cory and Asa : The NFL is a great example of parity reigning in a major, profitable professional sport. This NFL season was a shining example of parity, with a number of playoff spots being decided only in the last couple of weeks and the seedings weren't locked till the last week. Given the number of people who can play basketball at a high level in this country (it is much easier for a school / small college to maintain a high quality basketball program than a high quality football program), the dearth of talent outside the top 15 teams is appalling. Parity in the NBA only seems to matter when there's a labor dispute to be negotiated.

In other news, sounds like Stern is going to formally have Kevn Johnson make the case for the Kings staying in Sacramento. Though anything can happen in David Stern's NBA, my guess is that he doesn't want to take the bashing that he did when the Sonics moved and is playing this out more for PR than anything else.

Ben Bagamery
Ben Bagamery
Editor

Sigh. I knew it was too good to be true! I guess there's always expansion.

Ben Bagamery
Ben Bagamery
Editor

Oh, hey, I totally misread that article, it's actually good news. I hope the Maloofs have no control, though.

Arka Ray
Arka Ray
Senior Analyst

Damn Ben, just when I thought I couldn't be more depressed today (been surrounded all day by intolerable Niners fans, and worse: fair-weather Niners fans hollering "Who's got it better than us!") you got me more depressed with that initial response.

But the day has take a turn for the better ... let's get ready for the Seattle SuperSonics baby! Wonder who will own the remaining 35% of the team.

Ben Bagamery
Ben Bagamery
Editor

Run it Packers-style and sell ownership to the citizens. Yes please.

Cory Davis
Cory Davis
Columnist

Yes, Packers-style! My amazing boyfriend wrote this.

Sal Erickson
Sal Erickson
Senior Columnist

That's a pretty great article you linked us to, Cory. I agree that it makes sense for teams to at least partly be publicly owned. One of the reasons why fans love their sports teams is because they live vicariously through their favorite teams and athletes. The team's successes and failures are imbibed by its fans as their personal successes and failings.

Therefore, if fans had the opportunity to have a say in running the team, they would almost always make decisions for the greater good of the team (as opposed to themselves, which owners and GM often do).

Ryder Townsend
Ryder Townsend
Columnist

Looks like Kevin Johnson is still hard at work trying to keep the team in Sacramento. He's lined up 19 investors for M each and is about to reveal the 'big fish' investor soon.

Arka Ray
Arka Ray
Senior Analyst

I am getting really tired of Kevin Johnson and his antics at this point. He's going to counter a $525M offer with $19M from 19 people and one other major investor? Even taking out the costs of relocation, matching the offer would take at least $400M+ more. He's found a magical investor who'll front that money and take on, among others, the CEO of Microsoft?

While I'm still sympathetic to the city and people of San Francisco, the Hansen group and the NBA (for a change) have handled all of this in a fair and diligent way. If for some reason the Hansen offer gets retracted due to these shenanigans, then we might have another Anaheim type situation that will be a loss-loss: The team will eventually move from Sacramento in the future, but Seattle fans will remain deprived of a team.

Heather Heather
Heather Heather
Columnist

The new nickname should be the Sonic Thunderkings - just to piss off Stern and OKC and keep the Kings name alive.

Ben Bagamery
Ben Bagamery
Editor

While I support your goal of pissing off Stern and OKC, any team that comes back to Seattle should be named just the Sonics because tradition.

Also, if you've got a spare 2 hours, Sonicsgate is a fascinating look at what actually happened with the whole fiasco, complete with a bit of Sonics history.

SeattleSucks
SeattleSucks
Contributor

Seattle should feel like a bunch of assholes. Bitching and bitching about how their team was stolen and then they steal another team? Seattle Hypocrites. That should be the name. "just to piss off Stern and OKC" Guess that would make sense if anyone in Oklahoma cared now. The thing is that the sting is gone. Sonics fans are like Jews who start gassing all of the Germans everywhere. No better than those they hate. Also, Sonicsgate is a horrible look at what Sonics fans want the world to think happened when they didn't support their team until the last 2 games. Good job, Seattle. I give it 3 years and you will lose this team too!

Cory Davis
Cory Davis
Columnist

Godwin's law already? On a sports site? And even the username itself is all trollish?! WOW.

Vinay Kuruvila
Vinay Kuruvila
Analyst

Our small, niche community gets it's first troll! Yikes.