Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan spoke with NBA commissioner Adam Silver recently and the conversation filled her with optimism regarding the return of the Sonics to the League.
As per reports, Durkan spoke with Silver on call before Christmas when the commissioner asserted that the NBA is indeed looking to expand and Silver assured her that Seattle is at the top of their list.
Durkan also went on to mention that she has been in touch with Silver regularly and has gone to many NBA games with him as well.
“I’ve met him on a number of occasions,” Durkan said in an interview with KING 5.
“I actually was a guest of his at some games in New Orleans when I was down there for conference. Number one, the commissioner never gets ahead of the owners. And number two, if you want a city that wants a team, don’t get ahead of either of them. But it is very good news for the city of Seattle that they are thinking of an expansion team. And I was honest with him. He knows Seattle wants to be at the front of the line. We’re where the team should be. But we will be respecting them as they move forward to their ownership because the (owners), you know, has to approve it.”
“I think it’s real. But I think again, the commissioner is going to, you know, consult the ownership, and the ownership for the first time itself is being very public that they think it is probably a good idea for basketball. Part of that is the COVID economics. Part of it is the economics of sports. But look, there’s no city that I think is better positioned to be successful. We’re going to have the best arena in the country. I’m not just saying that when people walk in that building, they will be amazed. We are a city that even with COVID, when we come out of COVID, we have so much upside here,” she continued.
The NBA has suffered a lot of losses recently due to the pandemic and playing in empty stadiums, without fans, hasn’t helped them either. Silver had maintained for a long time that NBA has no plans of expansion but the pandemic has changed everything and the entry of a new team will help them in improving the financial condition of the league once again.
The expansion fee received from the two teams will be distributed equally among the franchises, which will be of immense help to those who are struggling.
Durkan reiterated that expansion could happen sooner than expected.
“I think he’s not going to get ahead of the (owners),” Durkan said. “They’ve got to make the decision there first. I think that him saying it publicly means that they are very seriously considering it, and if you look at how sports moves, I don’t think it’s going to be a long multiyear process. I think it can be a shorter process than that, but it might be, you know, more than one year. I think first you got to get the ownership group in line. And they’ve got to decide what an expansion team price could look like. And how they choose the cities that goes to. As we know, there’s also teams that are underperforming in the NBA, so they have to look at the economics in those cities and make sure that the teams they have are competitive. So they’ve got to look top to bottom as they’re coming out of COVID and went through a very different season than they had before.”