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The city of Seattle is working to set up discussions with the NBA to update the league on its arena development process as it seeks a future expansion franchise.
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Conflicting Reports About NBA, Seattle Situation
Thursday, Jan. 19
Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times provided comments from Benton Strong, a spokesperson for Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, on Monday about the project’s current status. He downplayed a report from the 16 Wins A Ring blog about “ducking” calls from the NBA, and he stated the city also wants to talk with the NHL.
“There is absolutely no truth to that whatsoever,” Strong said. “If anything, we are trying to get together on a call with both commissioners to keep the lines of communication open.”
The 16 Wins A Ring post cited sources who said the league was taking a more serious look at expansion after completing a new CBA in December. It pointed toward 2018-19 or 2019-20 as the possible expansion seasons, with Seattle, Mexico City and Louisville among the candidates for a team.
Additionally, sources told 16 Wins A Ring that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver viewed Seattle as a “lock” to rejoin the league as long as the arena issue gets sorted out. The outlet reported Silver had grown “frustrated” by Murray’s lack of correspondence, however.
The Seattle Times referenced an NBA source who said there was “absolutely no truth” to the blog post and said there were no planned talks between the league and the city.
Silver previously discussed the issue during an appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio in November. He wasn’t sure whether expansion was a smart route to consider at this stage due to an uneven balance of talent around the league, but he did refer to Seattle as a “first-class market.”
Meanwhile, the current focus for the city is determining what to do for an arena.
Chris Daniels of KING 5 reported on Jan. 9 that Council Member Debora Juarez said the city is seeking proposals about the renovation of KeyArena. It wants finalized bids by April 12, with AEG and the Oak View Group among those expected to take part in the process.
The other option is starting fresh by building a new arena. Mike Coppinger of USA Today noted in October that hedge fund manager Chris Hansen developed a plan to build the facility through completely private funding, though land use remained a hurdle.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is lending his wealth and star power to the effort. He announced on The Players’ Tribune in November he was partnering with the Sonics Arena Group with the hope of attracting NBA and NHL teams to the city.
That said, the bottom line remains the same: There’s still no definitive timetable for an arena decision, and that leaves potential expansion in either league up in the air for now.