One of the worst moves b the NBA in its history was to allow the relocation of the SuperSonics from Seattle. From the day the move happened, fans from the community have been trying to get the league to return the Sonics.
Not just fans from Seattle, but all basketball fans (except Oklahomans probably) feel this was an injustice. On May 13 the city of Seattle will consider a decision that would be a strong step forward in bringing back the Sonics. Kevin Durant, who started with the Sonics has once again expressed support for these efforts.
In an interview he gave some time ago, Durant said he would love to be an owner one day, and he would love to have an opportunity to help bring back the Sonics. So what is the situation right now?
There are two ways, expansion or relocation of an existing team. The Pelicans and Grizzlies were most mentioned in rumors about relocation, both being in small markets and near the bottom of attendance or profitability. No significant news has been reported on such options. Expansion, on the other hand, would be possible, but it would mean even more games and NBA owners would have to agree to share the profits with two more teams.
On September 25, 2018, the proposed $700 million renovation of KeyArena was approved unanimously 8–0 by the Seattle City Council. This was the old home of the Sonics. As there is no NBA team in Seattle, the arena will primarily serve as the arena for a hokey expansion team, with the possibility of an NBA team playing there as well.
Alongside this development, a group of investors led by Chris Hansen, the founder of the global hedge fund Valiant Capital Management, Pete and Erik Nordstrom, Wally Walker and Russell Willson (yep, the Seahawks QB) are petitioning the City Council to approve a conditional vacation of a portion of Occidental Avenue South where they would build a new arena for the Sonics, if the NBA approved the return to Seattle.
This increases the probability of the Sonics returning as we see more and more NBA teams owning their arenas as the primary tenant. The league is growing, and teams want to have as much control as possible, to influence scheduling and business opportunities. This new arena would ask for no public funding and would be designed with the NBA in mind.
On May 13th the city will decide on this request, and we all hope it will be positive and bring us one step closer to the return of the Sonics.