Could the Seattle SuperSonics be back in the NBA?
It has been more than a decade since an NBA team has played in Seattle, but Mayor Jenny Durkan on Thursday teased the possibility of an expansion team gracing the same name it had before the organization moved to Oklahoma City in 2008 and became the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Durkan told KING5 on Thursday she spoke with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver about the possibility of the league expanding back into Seattle. Silver had mentioned at the start of the season that the league was exploring the idea of expansion.
“I’ve met him on a number of occasions,” she said of Silver. “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 expansion price tag has reportedly been set at more than $2 billion, with Las Vegas also being rumored to be an expansion destination for the NBA. However, Durkan told the station she was still optimistic about another professional men’s basketball team in Seattle.
One of the issues the city won’t have to deal with is the prospect of a new arena.
The Climate Pledge Arena, formerly known as the Key Arena, was bought by Amazon in June and renamed to bring attention to climate change. It will also be the first zero-carbon arena in the world.
The Seattle Storm and the new Seattle Kracken are set to play in the arena in the coming years. In theory, the SuperSonics could slide into that venue as well.