Two weeks ago someone within the NBA, an unnamed source, let it slip that once the upcoming NBA collective bargaining agreement is completed that the NBA would begin to look at possible locations for expansion and that during the discussion of expansion it came up that the #1 location on the table is Seattle. The source even went on to say that “An hour after Seattle approves their arena, they’d have an offer in hand” in regards of an expansion team.
Chris Hansen, a hedge fund manager, has been trying to work deals with the City of Seattle, King County and Washington State to get an arena built that would bring an NBA team back to the Emerald City as well as a possible NHL team. Hansen has said before that his intention is to make any new arena an NBA/NHL ready arena.
When the rumor came out about the possible Seattle expansion Hansen went in to overdrive to get something together but to no avail the City Council voted 5-4 against an arena being paid for using a bond measure. Not to be dissuaded Chris went to look at other options and yesterday announced that he will privately fund the arena. In his Memorandum of Understanding to the city and NBA is that he will use private funds from a group of investors to fund the $200 million to build an arena with the agreement that the city vacate a section of city owned property near Safeco Field (Mariners) and CenturyLink Field (Seahawks) for the arena and that the NBA will commit to a team for the city by November 2017. Additionally, he has offered private money to upgrade the local streets in anticipation of higher traffic connected to the Sonics games.
The offer now goes to the Seattle City Council for another vote and then obviously the waiting game for the NBA to make a decision on expansion.
This is amazing news for Seattle fans and if things do work out I would expect the NHL to turn to Seattle with an expansion team. With the NHL’s expansion in Las Vegas the NHL will be at 31 teams in 2017 with an unbalanced Western Conference. Adding a team in Seattle for 2018 or 2019 would even out the conferences and with a move of the Las Vegas franchise from Pacific Division to Central Division a Seattle franchise could slide right in to the Pacific Division giving each Division 8 teams.
Just imagine, a rebirth of both the Seattle Supersonics and Seattle Metropolitans.