NBA expansion may be just around the corner, and Seattle is ready.
Though a lot of pieces have to fall into place in order for the SuperSonics to officially make a comeback in Seattle, mayor Jenny Durkan actually spoke with NBA commissioner Adam Silver about league expansion last month — and left “pretty optimistic” about the prospects.
“It is very good news for the city of Seattle that they are thinking of an expansion team,” Durkan said Thursday, via KING5. “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."
Adam Silver talks expansion before season opener
Silver addressed the possibility of expansion again before the start of the season last month.
While he said that the league is looking at doing so more now during the COVID-19 pandemic than they were before, it’s still a ways off.
"I think I've always said that it's sort of the manifest destiny of the league that you expand at some point," Silver said in December, via ESPN. "I'd say it's caused us to maybe dust off some of the analyses on the economic and competitive impacts of expansion. We've been putting a little bit more time into it than we were pre-pandemic. But certainly not to the point that expansion is on the front burner."
The NBA last expanded in 2002, when the Charlotte Bobcats were formed. The SuperSonics moved from Seattle to Oklahoma City, and became the Thunder, in 2008.
Since then, there have been numerous calls to get basketball back to Seattle. The city is set to open the brand new Climate Pledge Arena, too, which will host both the WNBA’s Storm and the Kraken — the NHL’s newest expansion team.
That arena, along with the rich basketball history there, will undoubtedly help bolster the city’s bid to bring the SuperSonics back. When that happens, however, remains to be seen.
"I think it was a very positive conversation,” Durkan said, via KING5. “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."
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