Expert Sports Talk On any Site For Free

HOME / COMMUNITY / NBA

The NBA is once again blocked from returning to Seattle. Will it ever come back?

Our Experts Discuss

  • Started
  • by Kyle,
  • Analyst
Kyle
Kyle
Analyst

Now, I feel for Sacramento, I really do. I don't want them to lose their team. That said, the way that the process itself was conducted was an absolute farce. The constant deadline extensions, granting Sacramento the team after the shakiest looking arena proposal we've probably ever seen, and Clay Bennett of all people heading the relocation committee.

I am not arguing that Sacramento doesn't deserve a team, simply that the process was unfair. There was no "due process" in a sense, regardless of what you think of the result (pro or con). Do you see the NBA making it back to Seattle?

Grayson Stout
Grayson Stout
Senior Analyst

I think it will happen, and originially I thought the Kings were a great fit to go to Seattle, but I'm sometime soon there will be another team in Seattle, I'm sure Stern will try to do all he can before he's done to get a team back in Seattle (it will probably take more time than that though).

Michael Clark
Michael Clark
Senior Analyst

No due process? What do you mean? Kevin Johnson and his supporters put a proposal together that convinced all the NBA owners that the Kings should stay where they belong. If the offer wasn't well thought out it wouldn't have convinced the owners.

I know Sonics fans are disappointed, but keep in mind there has been no final decision (and won't be until mid-May.) No offense, but as a Kings fan with absolutely no care as to where the Kings play, I find the disdain from Sonic fans to be childish. Blame David Stern and Howard Schultz. Don't piss on the Kings, their fans & their proposal.

And though the NBA isn't actively looking into expansion (according to Stern) I see a franchise in Seattle.

@Michael Clark Sonics fans are not being childish they are simply stating facts

Michael Walker

I still believe Seattle will receive an expansion team. The resistance to that idea has been primarily the wait.

Kyle
Kyle
Analyst

@Michael Clark first of all, Clay Bennett is the head of the relocation committee. Seems like a neutral guy.
Second, Hansen has a bid (according to this) ESPN article that is $24 million higher than the Ranadive bid for 65% of the team
Third, there was no need to delay the vote constantly, unless David Stern wanted to give Kevin Johnson enough time to put together a bid to keep the Kings in Sacramento. Hansen bid enough money that would make the Kings the largest sale in league history (not exactly a low ball offer), the Maloofs were on board, and he wanted to move the team to a state-of-the-art arena that he was going to finance in Seattle.

Instead, he's got a promise from Kevin Johnson to build a new arena using public money (and we'll see if that happens, it sure didn't after the team was almost moved to Anaheim).

Put yourself in Chris Hansen's shoes. You put down a bid almost a year ago. A third party delayed the closing until someone else could come up with a lower, (but still reasonable) bid, and now it looks like you are going to lose out. Doesn't look fair to me.

Kyle

@Michael Walker I'd prefer that--but Stern seems to be against it.

Kyle
Kyle
Analyst

@Grayson Stout Personally, I don't think Stern wants basketball back in Seattle. Call it what you will, but he seemed a lot more open to moving the Sonics to OKC than he does of moving the Kings to Seattle.

Reminds me of Goodell punishing the Saints for the bounties--he seems motivated to show that you don't deny the NBA the arena it wants

Michael Walker

I've read two or three articles regarding Stern. At leas two of the authors were convinced Stern just didn't want to wait until 2014. He wants a team, dammit, and he wants it now!

Michael Clark
Michael Clark
Senior Analyst

@Kyle Hanson's bid wasn't even acknowledged until like February. As late as October there was still talk of the Kings going to Virginia Beach. This hasn't been a super drawn out process. The extension was to give Sacramento a chance for a rebuttal, which they've done semi-successfully. Even if it was drawn out, Seattle fans & Hanson can't cry over what was never theirs. Because that's exactly what the Kings are. They were never Seattle property.

This isn't even finalized yet BTW. Nothing is 100% that Seattle won't have a team next year.

Michael Clark

Let me correct what I said before. The approval for the Seattle group deal was in January. The VA Beach thing was being talked about as late as November/December.

Michael Walker

@Michael Clark, will you acknowledge that it has been hinted by the NBA powers that be that there is a very good chance Seattle will receive an expansion franchise?

scott whittum
scott whittum
Editor

@Michael Clark Sonics fans are not being childish they are simply stating facts. When David Stern and Howard Schultz went to Olympia to try and lobby for state supported funding for a new building they were greeted by this from State Senator Frank Chopp. "They ought to get their own financial house in order when their payroll is over $50 million for, what is it, 10 players? I think that's a little ridiculous," Chopp said at the time. "They need to get their own financial house in order and if they did, they wouldn't have to ask for public help."(espn.com, retrieved November 8, 2007) Thus, Schultz gives up way too easily instead of fighting for the arena cause and sells the team to Clay Bennett in a manner similar to what the Maloofs did with trying to sell to Chris Hansen. In addition, here is all you need to know about Howard Schultz "The week of the Super Bowl, he announced in a whiny, entitled interview that the Sonics needed new digs. "It's very clear to us that the city and state officials are not showing us the kind of respect we feel we deserve," Schultz said. "It's ironic with the Seahawks going to the Super Bowl and the community, the state, so galvanized by a sports team, that here we are in a position that's so unfortunate."(deadspin.com, retrieved May 3, 2012) Thinka bout this for a second what owner with a rational thought in their brain comes out publicly and makes this statement during the week of arguably the most important event in history of Seattle sports the Super Bowl.
This next excerpt is all you need to know about Clay Bennett and the false pretenses of pretending to try to keep the team in Seattle.
"On April 17 last year, team co-owners Clay Bennett, Aubrey McClendon and Tom Ward talked about whisking the Sonics away to Oklahoma as soon as possible even though it would mean breaching the KeyArena lease, according to the city's motion filed in U.S. District Court in New York City."Is there any way to move here [Oklahoma City] for next season or are we doomed to have another lame duck season in Seattle?" Ward wrote.Bennett replied: "I am a man possessed! Will do everything we can. Thanks for hanging with me boys, the game is getting started!"(seattletimes.com, retrieved April 17, 2008) Finally, I have attached a link for you to Ian Thomsen's article talking about the huge risk that is involved with the NBA sticking with Sacramento. Bottom line is the Sacramento group and arena plan is not as strong as the KJ PR machine and national writers like Sam Amick like to make it out to be. Mark my words, that arena if it gets built is going to be at the Railyard site and not the Downtown Plaza but at the end of the day its on the NBA to take the inferior deal in Sacramento and live with the negative repercussions financially for the city of Sacramento and the league. Everything I have cited is listed below.

References:
http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3100691
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/nba/news/20130429/kings-sacramento-seattle-david-stern/?sct=uk_t2_a15
http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2004339103_sonicsheds.html
http://deadspin.com/5907371/howard-schultz-gave-out-350-starbucks-gift-cards-an-insiders-notes-on-the-shabby-death-of-the-seattle-supersonics

Evan Alexander
Evan Alexander
Analyst

I would love to see the NBA return to Seattle--but not at the expense of another city and fanbase. I hate seeing teams get uprooted, unless their fans are clearly unsupportive, which is pretty rare. And I just checked the Kings' standings in this season's attendance figures: 30th of 30. Whoops. So what are they even bitching about? They don't even go to the games!

Michael Walker

Incredible reply, @Scott Whittum. Kudos for presenting facts backed up by reference and research. Pretty compelling argument.

Aaron Bruder
Aaron Bruder
Senior Columnist

There are far more struggling franchises that can be moved in my opinion (Milwaukee and Charlotte come to mind, Minnesota might jump on board soon if Kevin Love asks out), and Seattle's going to get one of them in due time. I don't think expansion is necessarily a good idea here unless Stern decides to put a team back in Vancouver as well, and even then it would even further decrease parity in a superstar-driven league. And @Evan Alexander, the Kings were actually 28th (not much better) in attendance by percentage, taking into account maximum seating capacity of their stadium, but were still over 12% better in attendance than the Pistons, who barely had their arena two-thirds full on average.

Kyle
Kyle
Analyst

@Scott Whittum thanks for backing me up with the research. I was too tired to look all of that up. Excellent post.

@Aaron Bruder there are certainly worse (financially) franchises that can be moved. That said, it would appear that the NBA stands to lose money (at least short term) by keeping the team in Sacramento.

As the author of the article that I cited in my reply to Aaron, it is ironic (or cruel, depending on your perspective) that the NBA appears to have learned its lesson from taking the Sonics away (to make the zombie-Sonics), which has informed its decision to protect the teams in New Orleans and Sacramento. I get that they want to be loyal to Sacramento, but that is hard to stomach as a fan in Seattle when Stern completely disregarded the Seattle market in moving the Sonics. It smacks of hypocrisy at the least.

scott whittum
scott whittum
Editor

@Kyle, @Michael Walker Thanks in a situation like this topic especially when I have all this available info fact wise and the way Scaramento fans have acted and how the story has been spun nationally the only thing I know to do is use the research that is out there to best of my ability.

Michael Almonte

Seattle will get an NBA team in the future because Seattle has great fans, rich basketball history and is a big market.

Kyle

@Michael Almonte Thanks, we're certainly passionate

Michael Clark
Michael Clark
Senior Analyst

@Scott Whittum I don't really know what you were trying to prove by dogging Howard Schultz. He was a jerk. We get it. Doesn't give Seattle fans the right to act like the Kings were their franchise when they never were.

It's an inferior deal in Sacramento, but it's a deal to keep the team where they are. As fans of a team that was taken away, you have to respect that. Rather all I see is "we had a team, it was taken...we tried to take from another city, thought we had it, but were given false hope. now we're upset & going to complain." I know it's a bitter subject for you guys, but it's not a great way to conduct ones self.

scott whittum
scott whittum
Editor

@Michael Clark, I was not dogging Howard Schultz, all did was research and bring truthful facts about Howard Schultz and how he handled being owner of the Seattle Supersonics period end of story what am I supposed to do not point out the actual evidence of Schultz's actions. In regard to your point " We tried to take from another city." Whose we. I am not Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer they are ones who legally negotiated a binding purchase and sale agreement from an ownership group in the Maloofs whose desire is to sell it to them. So I personally am not trying to take the Kings away from Sacramento. The people in Seattle are only guilty of using actual common sense and the facts of the money that Chris Hansen has spent on purchasing land and getting more than just a term sheet and an arena plan far enough down the road in being confident in the bid set forth by this group. That is not being given false hope no offense and acting like the Kings were ours. So I apologize for using common sports business sense in looking at this issue. "Whether it’s a win for Sacramentans depends on whether you think it’s worth saddling your city with $258 million in arena debt in order to keep an NBA team in town — plus whether you believe the city will actually raise that $258 million with new parking revenues, or if you expect that Sacramento will have to dip into its general fund to pay the shortfall, as the arena term sheet allows and as some simple math indicates looks pretty likely."(fieldofschemes.com, retrieved April 30, 2013) This from Field of Schemes in regard to the glaring problem that everybody deep knows and that is questions surrounding Sacramento's ability to pay their public share for the arena. If god forbid there is another recession and parking revenues struggle or if the City of Sacramento partners with the parking management firm the likelihood of shortfalls occurring is definitely very possible if they are not careful and that again is just the reality of what could potentially happen and not me trying to be insulting as I work for a strong parking management company based out of Seattle and I have seen a lot of how deals go down like what Sacarmento is going to have to go through. Just simply pointing out facts based on my efforts to research my arguments for this and other topics so I am not getting upset and complain as you have stated with all due respect,

References:
http://www.fieldofschemes.com/2013/04/30/5041/sacramento-wins-kings-back-from-seattle-now-just-has-to-figure-out-how-to-pay-for-them/

Kyle
Kyle
Analyst

@Michael Clark I don't respect that. Not because I don't think it is a valid argument, but when the Sonics were moved, it didn't matter that Seattle had an inferior-but-still-acceptable offer to keep the team in Seattle (and didn't get this many chances to come up with better options). It seems as if the rules of the game change depending on the outcome that Stern wants.

LenHard Lilam

i hope someday the Sonics will be back.. They've got one of the best hard core basketball fans in the planet..

Dan Moberger
Dan Moberger
Senior Analyst

I know it's just a number's argument, but the NBA is perfectly split with 15 teams in each conference, five teams in every division. I don't think an expansion team is in the works for Seattle because it throws off the symmetry. Doesn't help the cause that creating an expansion team takes so much time, work and money. I guess it could happen, but I doubt it. If it does, it won't be for a while. If the city is going to get another team, it's more likely coming from another franchise moving there.

Kyle

@Dan Moberger I've got the same feeling, personally. I think you're spot on.

Michael Clark
Michael Clark
Senior Analyst

@Scott Whittum your point still doesn't coincide with mine. Schultz stinks, Sacramento may have an issue paying for the new arena. Fair points, all things I've already acknowledged. What are you arguing? That the Kings should go to Seattle? On what grounds? Because Seattle has a better deal in place? You've yet to connect the dots of your argument....if you're even making one.

FWIW, my argument has always been that Sac-town made a proposal that was accepted by the owners. Let the kings stay where they are. If Seattle fans have an issue, blame the NBA & Schultz for moving the team.

@Kyle Fair enough. Blame the NBA. Also there wasn't much delay -- approval of the Seattle group deal was in January. The vote was in April. I'm not sure if there's a due process type thing here where the vote is supposed to be done within days or weeks, but 3 months doesn't seem too long in NBA time.

Trevor Roberts
Trevor Roberts
Senior Columnist

@Dan Moberger and @Kyle , there are cities in the east that would be good fits for NBA teams as well: Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cinncinati, Buffalo, New Jersey (maybe, maybe not), St. Louis, Kansas city (the Mizzou two could go either way if alignment needs them to) and Columbus or they could expand to the west: San Diego, Vancouver, Austin, Oakland (for when the Warriors move across the bay) or St. Louis/KC. Am I saying these are all going to get teams? No. Am I saying they would all be successful? No, but it's possible, and I'm willing to bet money that Seattle or one of the cities above will get a team in the next say, 10 years.

Krithic Annamalai
Krithic Annamalai
Editor

All this talk about Seattle only reminds us that this is a city where Basketball will thrive in, I think it's only a matter of time before it returns back to the city. I'm sure the new expansion will be far more appealing than a rehashed Kings team featuring DeMarcus Cousins. Stay hopeful Seattle fans!

Arka Ray
Arka Ray
Senior Analyst

Well, there is hope yet. Doesn't look like Hansen and co. are going to up the bid significantly, by $75M: http://www.sonicsarena.com/news/the-latest-on-bringing-the-nba-back-to-seattle.

This is going to be quite the dogfight, it seems, and I say bring it on ... SONICS!

Arka Ray
Arka Ray
Senior Analyst

Doesn't look like Hansen and co. are going to up the bid significantly, by $75M:

D'oh, got too excited there, should have been:

Doesn't look like Hansen and co. are going to give up that easily. They are planning to up the bid significantly, by $75M:

Ben Bagamery
Ben Bagamery
Senior Analyst

"Phil Jackson's decision to return to the NBA is contingent on the resolution of the Sacramento Kings sale, ESPN.com reported Saturday.
Jackson, winner of 11 NBA titles as coach of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, has expressed interest in taking a front office job for a team.
Jackson reportedly wants to wait to see if the Kings get sold to the Seattle group that is looking to buy the team. ESPN.com recently reported that Jackson "hit it off" with Chris Hansen, who is leading the Seattle group." -- from Yahoo! Sports.

I would cry sweet, sweet tears of joy if this happens somehow. It's looking like long odds at this point, but I still have hope.

Arka Ray
Arka Ray
Senior Analyst

@Ben Bagamery that would really be pretty spectacular. The new Sonics + Phil = a collective orgasm for every Seattle sports fan.

The latest updates include the fact that the Maloofs are now refusing to sell to anyone but the Hansen Group, but that the owners are holding firm. This has become quite the stalemate at this point: Let's see who wins in the battle of the ever increasing pot of cash vs. Clay Bennett's bias.

In happier news, it's nice to see Kevin Durant show some support for the team that drafted him during practice yesterday: https://twitter.com/sonicsrising/status/333997294481448960/photo/1.

Ben Bagamery
Ben Bagamery
Senior Analyst

As Macklemore, newly famous Seattle rapper and diehard support of the Sonics (He performs wearing a Kemp jersey sometimes) recently retweeted, apparently OKC is using one of his songs to pump up the crowd at their games. The irony is apparently lost on them.

Trevor Roberts
Trevor Roberts
Senior Columnist

The Maloofs have said they won't sell to a group that will keep the team in Sac-town, the bid's been upped and the relocation commitee will meet again. The tides are turning. Another thing, as a part of the bid, Hansen & Co. pay $4 million to every NBA owner, maybe that sways a few votes in their favour.