My apologies for not updating you the weekend before last when new NBA commissioner Adam Silver declared that he’s in no hurry to issue new expansion franchises:
“My job is to ensure that 30 teams are healthy and competitive and so that’s what my priority is as opposed to expansion,” Silver said.
On the one hand, of course he’s going to say this — so long as there are team owners out there trying to get new arena deals by hinting at moving to vacant cities (hey there, Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl!), Silver would be foolish to start plugging those holes with expansion teams a minute before he has to. On the other hand, this has Seattle NBA fans who were hoping for a revived Sonics wailing and gnashing their teeth that no quick resolution is now likely.
Meanwhile, for folks who just want some kind of new sports arena built in Seattle, they don’t care what sport it’s for — beats me who these people are, but apparently they exist — focus has turned to attracting an NHL team, with several potential owners rumored to be interested, including former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The NHL has been more open to adding a Seattle expansion team, and there have even been rumors of an expansion announcement coming in the next few weeks, but then you run into the problem that Chris Hansen’s arena plan is contingent on getting an NBA team. Presumably someone (Ballmer?) could simply copy Hansen’s plans, crossing out “basketball” and writing in “hockey,” but given that Hansen’s numbers didn’t seem too likely of turning a profit anyway, and his whole arena plan only made sense as a way of fulfilling his personal ambition of owning a new Sonics franchise, it’s tough to see why anyone would want to do this.
But hey, why worry ourselves over where to find half a billion dollars for an arena when there’s the nickname of this phantom NHL franchise to argue over? Go, Kraken!