As Seattle stews about failed vote for NBA arena, was there a team ready to move?

Sonics flag

By Leighton Ginn

While people are slamming the Seattle City Council for voting against allowing a developer to purchase a street as the final step to building a new arena to attract the NBA and NHL.

The arena costs $550 million, according to the Los Angeles Times.

When the vote was shot down, thus delaying a chance to bring a team to Seattle, a few questions struck me. Who would the team have been?

Was there a team ready to move to Seattle?

The NBA has no plans to expand. I haven’t heard of the NHL wanting to expand either. If the NHL has a team ready to move, Las Vegas would be the logical destination after building the T-Mobile Arena.

The developer for the new Sonics stadium is Chris Hansen. And the stories I’ve read, it doesn’t sound like a team has been secured.

Neighbors of the proposed site, the Port of Seattle, the Mariners and some unions, opposed the project. If a team had been secured, I think that might have changed things. But it sounded disruptive, and it didn’t sound feesible without a team.

Should Seattle taxpayers, which were going to put $200 million into the project, approve an arena despite no guarantee of getting a team?

One of the fallout from the 5-4 vote that went along gender lines. The five women on the Seattle City Council have faced ugly bullying and threats of physical violence on social media.

It’s sad and unacceptable.

The council members should be accountable for their votes and speak out more about their reasoning for voting the way they did.

But I also think Hansen needs to be questioned.

I’ve read a few Seattle area stories and some national. I haven’t heard or seen any team associated with moving to the Pacific Northwest.

After Wisconsin approved funding to build a new arena to keep the Bucks in Milwaukee, there was no team close to moving. Some reports said it could be another two-to-three years before a team considers relocating, and that was an optimistic number, feeling it could be even longer. And if there was a team ready to move, it would likely go to Las Vegas first since it already has an arena and a lucrative infrastructure that’s tough to match, if boxing is any indication.

Hansen was asking for a big leap of faith.




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