The NBA and the NBPA are currently finalizing the details of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement that is expected to be signed soon. One part of the agreement that should interest fans is a section that paves the way for expansion teams. Of the cities vying for a chance to establish a new franchise, Seattle is considered a front runner.
Back in 2008, Seattle fans were crushed when the city lost it’s longstanding NBA franchise, the Supersonics. The team relocated to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder after the city of Seattle could not reach an agreement regarding a new stadium. Clay Bennett, the owner of the franchise, wanted the city of Seattle to spend billions of taxpayer dollars to build a new stadium, despite the fact that they already had a city owned stadium and the fact that Clay Bennett is a billionaire who can afford his own stadium. The loss of the team is still a very sore subject for the people of Seattle, who loathe Clay Bennett just as much as the people of Oklahoma City now loathe Kevin Durant.
Now the city of Seattle will be in competition with up to 9 other cities to land the rights to a new team. Via SBNation:
“I’ve heard that once the CBA is finished, the expansion bidding could be announced as soon as December or as late as the All-Star Game in February. There are going to be numerous other cities competing with Seattle to get the expansion franchises as well. I do not know if there is just going to be one slot or two. Other cities I’ve heard that are going to be making a play for expansion are Louisville (they have all their affairs in order and ready to go), Pittsburgh, Omaha, Las Vegas, Vancouver, BC, and Mexico City. Kansas City and St. Louis have been brought up as well, but I can’t confirm the validity of their interest.”
Seattle’s main advantage is the legacy of the NBA in the city. They’ve proven the popularity of the sport in the city and the viability of running a team there. The only major hurdle remaining is the Seattle City Council, which will still have final approval over a new stadium.
For all the Supersonic fans out there it would be amazing to see the team be reborn. And to everyone else on the fence, picture this scenario: After winning a championship or two with the Golden State Warriors, Kevin Durant pulls a LeBron and goes back to Seattle, the city that drafted him, to win one for the newly reborn Supersonics. That’d be one of the greatest story lines in all of basketball history.