It is not really a dramatic bit of news, but this does give you a sense of the NBA’s attitude.
At David Stern’s press conference is Milan Sunday, a foreign reporter asked the final question of the day, about a return of the NBA to Seattle. Here was Stern’s response:
“The answer is there seem to be plans moving along for a new arena in Seattle. There was general agreement in the past that Seattle needed a new arena. It would be my hope that within the timeframe that you mentioned five years that if everything works out perfectly, there would be a new arena and a new team in Seattle. That’s always, for the NBA board of governors, but I know that many governors are favorably inclined.”
Plans for a new arena have been approved and are continuing to move forward, but the next major step is for developer Chris Hansen and partners to get a team that he can anchor the building.
If you want to parse Stern’s words, he says “if everything works out perfectly” and “new team” as if to imply an expansion team. Expansion was something Stern seemed to rule out in the past, but in those cases it was a discussion of putting a team in a smaller market. Seattle is not a small market, and it has the kind of wealthy businesses that can snap up expensive luxury boxes.
I’m not sold that’s it. I think Stern still may be thinking about relocation of another franchise. I know, you’re all thinking Sacramento. But right now the Maloofs are not willing to give up their toy. And I’m done trying to guess how that cluster… mess is going to play out.
I think the big thing to note here is that however Hansen and his guys get a team there would be little if any resistance from the NBA to getting the team up and running in Seattle quickly.