When the Sonics left Seattle, it was regarded as one of all-time basketball tragedies. Not just because over 40 years of history was wiped away, but because the way it happened left a bad taste in everyone's mouth. And even though Oklahoma City has worked out pretty awesome as an NBA city, talk has persisted that Seattle needs a team back. Apparently some people in Seattle's mayor's office and a wealthy owner prospect are making good on that talk. The Seattle Times reports:
A wealthy San Francisco hedge-fund manager and officials in the Seattle mayors office have been working behind the scenes for eight months to bring an NBA team back to the city as early as next fall and build a new arena, according to emails and documents that reveal a far more concerted effort than previously known.via Local News | Seattle sports-arena talks well under way, documents show | Seattle Times Newspaper.
A Dec. 13 agenda for a meeting between the parties shows they were talking about details such as a "Review of Basic Deal Structure," "Financing Issues," including "City Debt Capacity," and "Security for Public Financing."
The documents, released Friday to The Seattle Times under a public-disclosure request, also provide the first glimpse of how the largely unknown hedge-fund manager, 44-year-old Seattle native Christopher Hansen, approached the city about his desire to buy an NBA team and build an arena south of Safeco Field.
So how would Seattle get a team? The Times reports that Hansen could be targeting the sacraamento Kings, who are undergoing their own arena crisis, with a February 14th city council meeting effectively Judgment Day for the future of professional basketball in Sacramento. To date the Maloof family who owns the Kings have yet to indicate any interest in selling the Kings.
The report comes as a surprise that discussions have already progressed to this point. Any arena discussions with Seattle have to ensure profitability for the city under a voter provision. Trying to put together an arena plan, acquire a team and relocate them by fall is extremely improbable, but not impossible. However, things would have to move at an accelerated pace.
The group is also looking at a hockey franchise, as our guys at Eye on Hockey detailed.