Early this afternoon, Seattle Supersonics nation took a collective punch to the stomach after hearing that the NBA Relocation Committee voted unanimously 12-0 in favor of keeping the Kings in Sacramento.
Leaving Seattle once again, with the short end of the stick.
Being a diehard Seattle sports fan for 20 years, I have gone through my fair share of collegiate and professional heartache. I’ve witnessed a 0-12 Husky football season, and I’ve seen my beloved Mariners struggle for the past decade.
But after today’s news on the Sonics not returning in the fall, NOTHING compares to what I feel now.
I feel like a a nine-year-old child waiting for Santa Claus to bring presents under my tree on Christmas morning, only to wake up to nothing. I feel lied to, betrayed, but mostly, I just feel sadness, sadness that I will not be watching the Sonics this fall.
It’s been nearly three years since Chris Hansen publicly said he was interested in bringing the Sonics back home to Seattle and until now, there had been nothing but optimistic feelings around the team potentially coming back.
Everything the NBA wanted, Hansen accomplished.
When the NBA said you needed a sound ownership group, Hansen contacted Microsoft co-founder Steve Ballmer and Eric and Peter Nordstrom to join him in his hunt to bring basketball back to the Northwest.
Then Hansen needed to convince both King County and the City of Seattle that the arena proposal was a sound one. A task that Howard Schultz was unable to accomplish just five years ago, which is what ultimately resulted in the teams departure. But after a long grueling process, Hansen, yet again was able to close the deal.
Hansen was even able to become a majority owner of the Kings earlier this year after the Maloof brothers (current owners of the Sacramento Kings) agreed to a purchase agreement of the team for $550 million dollars.
But despite all of Hansen’s efforts and the fact that his ownership group is light-years ahead of anything brewing in Sacramento, NBA Commissioner David Stern has still given Seattle the middle finger.
WHO’S TO BLAME
If you’re looking for someone to shove your frustration to, do not look at Hansen, Ballmer or the Nordstrom brothers. They have gone above and beyond in their efforts to bring basketball back to our city, and without them we never would have had optimism in the first place.
Instead, direct your anger towards Stern. For those who are not aware of Stern’s tactics, he is a conniving but intelligent attorney who has been Commissioner of the NBA since 1984. He has relocated six NBA teams during his tenure, including our Sonics moving to OKC in 2008.
Last October Stern announced his retirement for February of 2014, which many believed would bode well for Seattle in getting a team back, hoping he (Stern) would want to right the wrongs of his past and bring a team back to Seattle.
But after today’s revelations that assumption couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Stern is a very egotistical man who deeply cares about his legacy as commissioner and moving seven teams in almost 30 doesn’t look all that great and in the end, that is why I believe the Hansen group got the FU from Stern.
You can also blame Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. Johnson played 12 seasons in the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Phoenix Suns from the late 80′s to early 2000′s.
I don’t feel anger towards Johnson, but honestly I am envious of him. I am envious that the city of Sacramento has a leader who was willing to do whatever it took to keep his cities struggling franchise. A leader I wish Seattle had just five years ago. If this was any city other than Sacramento, I truly believe Seattle would have basketball come October. But due to Johnson’s ferocious efforts, all signs are pointing that the Kings will not leave under his watch.
But in all reality, none of those men would even be discussed if it weren’t for Seattle Mayor Greg Nichols, who was mayor when the Sonics left. For those who don’t remember, Nichols didn’t even do the bare minimum in trying to keep professional basketball in Seattle. Instead, he settled with Oklahoma businessman Clay Bennett and let the Sonics leave without even hearing a verdict from a judge.
Nichols for the city of Seattle was the polar opposite of what Johnson was for the city of Sacramento. And it is Nichols, not Stern or Johnson, who is truly to blame for why basketball is not here.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR HANSEN, SEATTLE
It looks like all we can do is wait and see. I know that’s the last thing anyone wants to hear, but it is the only option we have left.
The city of Seattle is the biggest bargaining chip that the NBA has. Whenever a team is struggling to make money or struggling to build a new arena, all the NBA has to do is point up north to Seattle and say “Hey if you don’t get your stuff together, we have a place where your team can go.”
But other than that it appears Seattle won’t have basketball in the forseeable future.
There have been rumors of expansion, but with a lot of owners already losing money on a year-to-year basis why would league owners agree to give up an additional 3% of an already diluted amount of money?
No one knows what will happen for sure, but many have speculated all Seattle can do is to continue to wait for a current NBA franchise to struggle and hopefully Hansen can try and buy that team.
The NBA Owners will officially vote on the possible (but unlikely) relocation of the Kings on May 13. Seattle will need 23 yes’ out of 30 for the Kings to be moved.
OTHER POSSIBLE RELOCATION TEAMS IN NEAR FUTURE:
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Atlanta Hawks
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Charlotte Bobcats