Will there be NBA basketball in Seattle this fall? There is a massive buzz going around the Twittersphere saying the answer is YES! According to various reports, the most credible being Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA reporter for Yahoo! Sports, the Maloofs are incredibly close to finalizing a deal with a Seattle group to complete a purchase of the Sacramento Kings franchise.
The group, led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, are believed to have made the offer of $500 million to the Maloofs with clear intentions of relocating the team to Seattle to play in Key Arena for two seasons while the new arena is built. There were multiple rumors floating around last night after Daina Falk, daughter of NBA super-agent David Falk, tweeted that an agreement was reached and the deal was done. That caused quite a stir and made it very hard for Sonics fans to sleep last night, only to hear reports today that the rumor was true.
There have been conflicting reports all day long, some saying it’s a done deal, and others saying the Maloofs backed out, which is starting to give me a headache. But all of the reports coming from reliable sources say that while nothing is written in ink yet, the deal is just about done and the fine details are all that is remaining. I was planning on putting this article off until official word surfaced that the purchase was finalized, but my excitement got the best of me and I just couldn’t resist.
Anyone following Chris Hansen’s pursuit of the Kings knows that the Maloofs are complete flakes and are known to verbally agree to just about anything and then back out at the last second. However, the intensity of the rumors out there, and the sources they are coming from lead me to believe that it is now just a matter of time and the Seattle Supersonics will be resurrected and once again play basketball in the Pacific Northwest.
This is a huge deal for me. I grew up playing basketball and loving the Sonics, going to as many games as I possibly could. I’ll never forget the day they were sold and the slow, painful, ongoing process that was their relocation to the “city-that-shall-not-be-named.” It was like having a cut on your body that just never really healed and kept bleeding. We had to just sit there and watch the new ownership gut the team of all talent to prepare for a move. They drafted Kevin Durant in their last season here who won rookie of the year honors. And then just like that, Clay Bennett packed the team up and shipped them away, taking our name, our uniforms, our 1979 championship title, and 41 years of NBA history with him. A piece of my childhood was stolen from me and I thought it would be a LONG time before the Sonics were back. But now within the last couple years, huge movements have been made and it looks like the finish line is in sight.
The only problem I can see with this situation is that now we must do to another city what was done to us. Of course there are differences. As I said earlier, the Seattle group is making this purchase with very clear intentions to relocate as soon as possible, whereas Bennett told our city that he had no desire to move the team, only to change his mind once emails between him and the NBA were leaked showing their true intentions all along. The fact still remains, there is a city with devoted fans who love their basketball team, who are now on the verge of seeing their team sold by their owners and moved away. To the fans of the Sacramento Kings, all I can say is this:
I’m sorry. I am sorry things have to happen this way to you. But I hope you understand. The NBA made it very clear to Seattle back in 2008 that if a city wants a basketball team, they will have to take it from someone else. It pains me to think that we are now becoming “those guys” that are stealing a team, but that is not the case here. We are simply jumping at an opportunity to buy a struggling franchise that is losing money rapidly for their unhappy owners. But know this…they will be in good hands. The city of Seattle loved their team for 41 years, through good and bad, and they will do the same to this new team. I know there is a ridiculous amount of tension between Seattleites and the cattle farmers in Oklahoma City (everyone there is a farmer, right?) but I hope that will not be the case here. We feel terrible that you have to go through the pain of losing your team, but no one knows that more than us. We are just trying to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to get a team back in the Northwest and if that means buying one from another city, then that is what we will need to do.
I know a lot of people who are Sacramento Kings fans and have over the past couple of years said the same thing. “Well, if they are going to be sold, I hope they go to Seattle. At least you guys understand.” We do, and that is why I expect there to be a lot less tension between cities and fanbases than what happened back in 2008. But as I’ve said before this city is one that is more than worthy of appreciating an NBA team and I am so glad that things have happened so quickly to make that dream a reality once again.
It’s an exciting time to be a Seattle sports fan right now. That almost worries me, because good things tend to tease us up here in the corner of the country and pass us by. Not this time. The Seahawks are taking the NFL by storm and were the only thing anyone in Seattle could talk about before this news of the Sonics broke in the last 48 hours. The Hawks are three wins away from capturing their first Super Bowl victory, the Seattle Supersonics are on their way home, and the Mariners….well, the Mariners will probably once again struggle to win 70 games. Oh well, I’ll take 2 out of 3! Be sure to follow Seattle Sports Central as we follow the Seahawks postseason run as well as all of the latest news related to the Sonics coming back. And hey, Go Hawks!
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