Several cities had to wait a long time before the NBA gave them franchises to replace ones lost. Several, notably St. Louis, never received another team after losing one.
If NBA owners, as expected, rubber stamp the relocation committee’s vote to keep the Kings in Sacramento, the next question is: How long will Seattle have to wait for an NBA franchise? Philadelphia waited just two years before replacing the Warriors (bolted to San Francisco) with the 76ers, and Charlotte went without a team for three years following the evacuation of the Hornets (to New Orleans) before getting the Bobcats.
But St. Louis, a two-time loser as an NBA/BAA (Basketball Association of America, forerunner on the NBA) franchise, still hasn’t received a replacement for the Hawks, who departed for Atlanta in 1968, when Haight-Ashbury made headlines 45 years ago. Cincinnati, which supported the NBA from 1958-72, has been awaiting a return by the NBA since the Watergate hearings 41 years ago (1972).
Buffalo, which adequately supports the Bills (NFL) and Sabres (NHL), hosted the NBA from 1971-78 (anybody remember Bob McAdoo?), and has been awaiting the return of pro basketball for 35 years. That’s how much time has elapsed since the Braves moved west to become the lame San Diego (now non-lame Los Angeles) Clippers.
And look at Kansas City. That city (plus Omaha), the original home of the NCAA Tournament, supported the NBA from 1973 through 1985 after the Cincinnati Royals, born in Rochester, NY., moved there following the 1972 season. Kansas City, which lost the Kings to Sacramento (1985), hasn’t had a sniff from the NBA in 28 years.
It’s not impossible for a city to lose an NBA/BAA franchise and acquire a new one. Chicago lost both the Stags (1947-50) and Packers/Zephyrs (1962-63) before scoring permanently with the Bulls, who launched play in the Windy City four years after the Packers/Zephyrs (anybody remember Billy “The Hill” McGill?) moved to Baltimore (and eventually Washington D.C.) in 1964.
San Diego had the Rockets until 1971, lost them to Houston, and waited eight years before the Braves/Clippers arrived (1979). When San Diego lost the Clippers to Los Angeles (1985), it joined St. Louis and Chicago as a two-time NBA/BAA loser.
Seattle is the largest metro market in the U.S. without an NBA team, ranking ahead of San Diego and St. Louis. The following are the cities that went the longest before re-acquiring a franchise:
|First Team||Last Year||Next Club||First Year||Wait|
|Minneapolis Lakers||1961||Minnesota T-Wolves||1990||29 years|
|New Orleans Jazz||1979||New Orleans Hornets||2003||24|
|Indianapolis Olympians||1953||Indiana Pacers||1968||15|
|Milwaukee Hawks||1955||Milwaukee Bucks||1969||14|
|San Diego Rockets||1971||San Diego Clippers||1979||8|
|St. Louis Bombers||1950||St. Louis Hawks||1956||6|
|Chicago Zephyrs||1963||Chicago Bulls||1967||4|
|Charlotte Hornets||2002||Charlotte Bobcats||2005||3|
|Philadelphia Warriors||1962||Philadelphia 76ers||1964||2|
If Sacramento doesn’t screw up its arena plan, and it might, the Kings will stay there and Seattle will have to wait for another team to fail, or for expansion, whichever comes first. Neither option is guaranteed. So we have the following question, and comments are encouraged: