In recent weeks, there has been some discussion that NBA commissioner Adam Silver is open to adding an expansion franchise to the league.
As a result, Jenny Durkan, the mayor of Seattle, Wash., is feeling “pretty optimistic” that pro basketball will soon return to her city.
“I’ve met him (Silver) on a number of occasions,” Durkan told KING 5. “I actually was a guest of his at some games in New Orleans when I was down there for conference. Number one, the commissioner never gets ahead of the owners. And number two, if you want a city that wants a team, don’t get ahead of either of them. But it is very good news for the city of Seattle that they are thinking of an expansion team. And I was honest with him. He knows Seattle wants to be at the front of the line. We’re where the team should be. But we will be respecting them as they move forward to their ownership because the (owners), you know, has to approve it.
“I think it’s real. But I think again, the commissioner is going to, you know, consult the ownership, and the ownership for the first time itself is being very public that they think it is probably a good idea for basketball. Part of that is the COVID economics. Part of it is the economics of sports. But look, there’s no city that I think is better positioned to be successful. We’re going to have the best arena in the country. I’m not just saying that when people walk in that building, they will be amazed. We are a city that even with COVID, when we come out of COVID, we have so much upside here.”
The Emerald City had the Seattle SuperSonics for many years, and the team had a strong following throughout the Seattle metro area.
The Sonics were often a strong team, as they won the 1979 NBA championship and reached the Finals in 1996.
“I think it was a very positive conversation,” Durkan said about speaking to Silver. “I think he has said publicly that Seattle is at the top of the list. Look, if there’s basketball karma, we’ll get the Sonics. If there’s economics involved, we’ll get the Sonics. If there’s just smart, what’s the best city in America, we’ll get the Sonics. So, I’m pretty optimistic.”
However, they left in 2008 after they were purchased by Oklahoma City-based businessman Clay Bennett and became the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Seattle is not the only market that’s vying to land the NBA’s next team. Carolyn Goodman, the mayor of Las Vegas, Nev., also reportedly spoke to Silver about the prospects of obtaining a team.
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the cost for either city to successfully land an NBA squad could be as much as $2.5 billion.