The NBA in Seattle: Reading the Tea Leaves

It’s in the cards

The NBA will come back to Seattle, just don’t hold your breath…

In today’s world of fast food, instant streaming technology and on-demand entertainment, we, as a society, are accustomed to getting things now.

In addition, our collective attention span is fleeting and short-lived, as emphasized by the 400 million tweets a day running through the Twitter-verse. 

Combined, this manifests a ‘me…now’ caveman mentality that demands instant gratification. Unfortunately for NBA fans in the PNW, that group-think will only make the wait for a team seem that much more endless.

Thankfully, the collective intellect of those in the PNW is substantially higher than other parts of the country. Unfortunately, our attention span is hardly a strength.

As a sports-town, we are far too informed to be considered fair-weather, but also far too busy to be distracted by something not yet even in front of us.

Chris Hansen led us to believe

Few cities could have put together a proposal as strong as the Chris Hansen/Steve Ballmer package, backed by such sturdy local support that nearly any other ownership group would be envious.

However, in the weeks since we were denied the Sacramento team, very little has been heard about the next step.

Do you think that if cities such as New York or Boston were in a similar situation as Seattle, they would remain quiet after putting together one of the greatest purchase packages in the history of any sport?

Sure, maybe up here we are more poised and in control, or perhaps, we have just moved on.

The truth is, everyone reading this wants a team in Seattle, and likely it will happen.

As much as David Stern is vilified around here, he never was the cause of the Kings staying in Sacramento.

The NBA saw the opportunity to have both markets and rather than play musical chairs (Seattle to Oklahoma, Sacramento to Seattle, then maybe expand back into Sacramento) they decided to let the team remain in California.

The chances of an ownership group coming back together again in a year or two in Sacramento after having their team ripped from them would be unlikely.


He already has our hearts, so where is our team? (Photo:

In Seattle, however, it’s been 5 years. Five years to get over the hurt, pick up the pieces and move on.

In fact, that’s what we did as a community until Hansen’s group came along with a plan…we had moved on.

Plan A failed, but Plan B is still very much in effect.

So what is Plan B?

In 2012, Hansen made a personal guarantee to pay the city’s debt if he couldn’t make the new arena financially successful. This was a 5-year guarantee, which will keep Hansen motivated to make the arena work.

This motivation was likely a key point [simplified] as to why the Hansen group did not pursue legal action against the NBA.

All legal action will do is sour the NBA’s desire to place a team here, and believe me, they are very motivated to have a franchise in Seattle.

The financial backing behind the ownership group would add another heavy hitter to the league’s Board of Governors.

So, with the NBA knowing the Hansen group will be ‘around’ for a few years (and with no such guarantees that the Sacramento group would fight for an expansion team) the Kings remain in California, and we wait.

A new TV deal is expected to be inked in 2014, and the core NBA brand will be strengthened. This will open up the opportunity for expansion, with Seattle being at the top of the list.

Add to it that the Hansen/Ballmer group will still guarantee paying into the revenue sharing pot instead of drawing from it, combined with the new arena, and you could be looking at an NBA team after a couple more seasons.

The outlook for getting a basketball franchise back in Seattle is great. It may take 2-3 years, but it will happen.  The question is, as fans, can we wait and will we care?

I expect in our day to day lives, thoughts will drift to the Mariners and Seahawks, but until the NBA actually approves expansion, few in the PNW will care. 

Our collective ‘fandom’ will be put on hold, with the energy spent on more important things.

However, once the day comes, I have zero doubt the city and the community behind it will be in full favor and fervor for an NBA team.

So yeah, the NBA will be coming to Seattle, just don’t hold your breath.

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About Jonas Hyde

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