In September, Seattle City Council approved a $700 million of KeyArena in preparation for potential future expansion franchises.
Well, earlier today it was officially announced that the NHL approved Seattle for an expansion franchise beginning in 2021. That is great news for the NHL and the city of Seattle. Any time an expansion franchise is introduced to a major sports market, there is usually a spike in fan interest in that city. Sometimes that interest can also reach unprecedented peaks as well (see the Las Vegas Knights and their improbable run to the Stanley Cup Finals).
The NHL might be in its best spot in years. However, that’s not what this article is about. This is about the even bigger story that is tied to Seattle: when will the NBA give the Sonics back to the fans?
Adding an NBA expansion team to Seattle has long been a discussion on social media and even in NBA circles. With the NHL expansion franchise being announced, it only added fuel to the fire.
Seattle native and current NBA player, Isaiah Thomas, was one player who immediately advocated (again) for the NBA to return to Seattle.
— Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) December 4, 2018
Russell Wilson, the Seahawks quarterback, has also been a strong supporter of getting the Sonics back for the fans.
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) December 4, 2018
Before the start of the 2018-19 NBA season, Seattle hosted a preseason game between the Warriors and Kings. Kevin Durant was the last great player to play in Seattle in 2008 and he addressed the crowd before the game, and before putting together a montage of highlights for the fans.
Kevin Durant had 26 PTS (10-19 FG), 7 AST, 6 REB in 26 MINS during his return to Seattle.
His last game as a Seattle SuperSonic was against the Warriors in 2008. He had 42 PTS (18-25 FG), 13 REB & 6 AST in the win. pic.twitter.com/D0sSCbEI1i
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) October 6, 2018
Who knows how long it will actually take, but here’s the idea I’ve thought would make a ton of sense for the NBA:
- Add two expansion franchises to keep it at an even number of 32 teams
- Place one team in Seattle to bring back the Sonics and then put the other team in Las Vegas because of Adam Silver’s outspoken support for the NBA being positively involved in sports betting.
- Move a team like the Grizzlies or Pelicans to the Eastern conference OR abolish conferences all together and just seed the playoffs 1-16.
Adding the two teams would obviously be a major move for the NBA but it also makes sense with the NBA’s popularity being arguably higher than its ever been.
Seattle has a professional sports franchise in every other major sports. Seahawks (NFL), Mariners (MLB), Storm (WNBA), Sounders (MLS), and a soon-to-be named NHL franchise.
Bring the Sonics back to the Emerald City.