BY SPNW Staff 12:02PM 10/11/2012

Is It Now Okay To Take Another City’s Team?

Fans of the former Seattle SuperSonics have ample reason to hold NBA Commissioner David Stern in low esteem, given his serial double-talk about the franchise over the years. But Stern this week issued his most optimistic assessment yet of Seattle becoming a league city again when queried by a Romanian reporter during Stern’s visit to Milan, Italy.

The reporter asked Stern, “Regarding the new Seattle arena, is there a chance that during the next five years there will be an expansion team, a new Seattle SuperSonics?”

Replied Stern: “The answer is there seems 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 that time frame 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 (owners), but I know that many governors are favorably inclined.”

Monday, the Seattle city and King County councils will take their final votes to approve an agreement with hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, who has committed about $290 million to the $490 million arena project. The votes are forecasted to be there.  As an environmental impact study gets underway, estimated to take a year, Hansen’s next task will be to acquire a team to play in the building.

Unless the NBA opts for another round of expansion, which according to Stern’s previous statements, is unlikely, Hansen will have to acquire an existing team, which begs the question:


  • Tian Biao

    it’s an ugly game, to be sure, this franchise-stealing. But I take issue with how the options are worded, ie, if a city can’t or won’t support a franchise, it doesn’t deserve one. Because what does the word ‘support’ mean? Does it means fans showing up to games, or does it mean taxpayers building a new arena? Fan support in Seattle wasn’t a big factor in the loss of the Sonics; it was basically Schultz and then Bennett not getting a $500 million handout from taxpayers. So you have fat cats asking for handouts, and if the governments in question say ‘no’ then is that a lack of support?

    I love how these plutocrats decry taxes and government spending, unless that spending benefits them personally, in which case they’re all for it. Boeing does the same thing, wringing concessions from governments and threatening to move production. oops – sorry to go off track. ’tis the season, i guess, until election day.

    but Seattle is playing into the hands of NBA owners; now they can say ‘hey look, build me a new arena, or I’ll sell to Hansen.’ Having said all that, I don’t have the answer. I suppose I’d rather have a newer team with less tradition and longevity, because that would be painful to fewer fans. Grizzlies, maybe, or Hornets, or Bobcats, or Timberwolves. I’d love a new team in a new arena, but I’ll still feel bad for the fans of that city.

  • jafabian

    I’d love to have the Islanders come here!

  • gmj

    If I had millions of dollars and proposed a new arena in a market that used to have a professional sports team, I would have no qualms raiding another city’s sports franchise. I would prefer an expansion team. However, there are no guarantees that a sports league will add new teams. Also, how many teams in a league is too many?

    Taking into consideration that franchise moves have occurred for various reasons, if Seattle ends up with a team from a previous market, it would be no different that other cities in the same situation including St. Louis (NFL: Cardinals/Rams in an 8 year time frame), Philadelphia (NBA: Warriors/76ers in a 1 year time frame), Denver (NHL: Rockies/Avalanche in a 13 year time frame) and Milwaukee (MLB: Braves/Brewers in a 4 year time frame).

    Will Seattle gain an NBA/NHL team in the next 1-5 years? We shall see.

  • Joe

    honestly, we cant feel too sorry to not accept a team if that city loses it, its the NBA, if expansion is not guaranteed, we have no choice but to just accept the fact we may have to a take a team from a different city, we are not going to just sit and do nothing………it doesnt matter what other people think about us, we lost our team and its time to get a team back, if other people or media want to dog on Seattle as thieves…..go ahead but that business of basketball, i will feel bad for sacramento or anybody except OKC but i will not say NO