NBA commissioner: No Seattle expansion team in immediate future

Seattle isn’t getting an NBA expansion team anytime soon, you guys:

“Whether or not the arena in Seattle is shovel ready is not a factor that we are considering in terms of whether or not we expand at this point,’’ Silver told The Seattle Times during the Associated Press Sports Editors commissioners meetings in Manhattan…

“We’re going through a collective-bargaining cycle right now, it’s no secret,’’ Silver said. “So, certainly, it’s not something that we would be thinking about as we’re focusing on ensuring that we’re going to have labor peace for the foreseeable future.

“I think that after we complete the extension of our collective-bargaining agreement, I think that would be the natural time, at least, for owners to consider whether or not they would like to expand. … Right now, we are not hearing it coming from within the league. We are hearing from some groups outside the league. But from within the league, there’s no strong push to expand at the moment.’’

Since Chris Hansen’s MOU for a new Seattle arena expires in November 2017, this means in the next year and a half we’re either going to see: 1) a big push by Hansen to try to get another team to relocate (your guess is as good as mine who he’d target, since there aren’t a ton of ready candidates looking to move), 2) a big push by Hansen to get the MOU extended, or 3) both of the above. Getting a team was always going to be the hardest part of Hansen’s Sonics 2.0 plan — yes, even harder than figuring out how to make his arena turn a profit — and it looks like that road isn’t getting any easier anytime soon.

27 comments on “NBA commissioner: No Seattle expansion team in immediate future

  1. The street vacation (because a city street running through the basketball court isn’t acceptable to the NBA) that’s still working through the city council was petitioned for 7 years. Standard for a street vacation is 5 years, so the council put in an amendment for 5, but some council members were asking if they should just make it consistent with the MOU, expiring in a year and a half. CM Tim Burgess was quick to shut down that discussion CM Harrell was having, reminding him of their discussions with the city attorney that couldn’t be discussed in public, and there was a bit of back and forth about what they could discuss. Maybe Hansen has a plan or maybe they fear being sued if they do a shorter-than-normal street vacation. It’s about 1 h 55 min into their discussion here

  2. Unless, of course, someone is willing to pay far above the expansion team fee. The NBA will not say no to that kind of money.

  3. Well, you have to consider that Seattle has become for the NBA what LA was for the NFL. Two cities, Sacramento and Milwaukee, already have been shaken down with the Seattle threat.

    Based on age, attendance and team value, Detroit would seem to be the next victim, though Phoenix seems to want to jump to the front of the line.

  4. Based on age, attendance and team value, Detroit would seem to be the next victim, though Phoenix seems to want to jump to the front of the line.

    There’s zero chance of Detroit moving. The city is building a new arena as we speak, so if the team goes up for sale Ilitch or someone with close ties to him, would scoop it up right away and move them downtown. Even Gores (the current owner) is considering moving the team to the new arena:

    The only hope for Hansen is the New Orleans Pelicans. For that to happen, Tom Benson would have to drop dead because there’s zero chance of the team moving under his ownership. Every other team is safe. I also get the feeling that Silver and majority of NBA owners have a strong dislike for Hansen after what he pulled in Sacramento. At this point, Seattle would be better off trying to land an NHL team.

    • Well, the Charlotte Bobcats don’t appear to be very safe to me, nor will they ever as long as MJ is at the helm. It’s too bad that he’s such a lousy owner.

      As for your comment that the NBA doesn’t like what Hansen pulled in Sacramento, you may be correct. And Steve Ballmer rewarded Silver and the NBA by buying the Clippers.

      Silver, Stern and tge other owners ultimately got EXACTLY what they wanted: Ballmer in the league without granting Seattle a new franchise…checkmate for the NBA!

      I can’t begrudge a man following his dream, but Ballmer lost some points with me – of course, he wouldn’t care.

      I have met the man before, at Starbucks across from Bellevue Square, which was once his favorite hangout.

      I liked him back then, but when he abandoned Chris Hansen and the Nordstrom brothers in their bid to bring a team back to Seattle it left a bad taste in my mouth. I feel that if he wasn’t prepared to rumble for the full 15 rounds he shouldn’t have appeared at the weigh-in.

      Sadly, I think David Stern is still running the NBA, and Adam Silver is just the face of the league.

      As long as Atern remains pissed at the city and state overnments – and King County citizens to a lesser degree – we will not get a team.

      As far as owners not liking Chris Hansen, who cares?! Nobody liked Donald Sterling or Marge Schott, and Al Davis and George Steinbrenner certainly weren’t everyone’s favorites.

      But they ran their teams for years and made big profits.

      Owners are competitors first and foremost; they don’t need to “like” each other…as long as they understand that they NEED each other in order for the league to function. Chris Hansen would be an amazing owner…an amazing league commissioner, actually! He’s a visionary, and they need to get on board with him.

      Every owner has friends and enemies in their respective leagues. That doesn’t stop them from doing business.

  5. Ah, I stand corrected. I guess I didn’t know there was no need to shake down Detroit, because, like Phoenix, they were dumb enough to shake themselves down.

    Minneapolis, you’re up.

  6. Minneapolis, you’re up.

    Target Center is undergoing a three phase renovation.

    SPRING 2016
    Target Center to remain open for events
    PHASE 1:
    Suite Level
    Acoustic Improvements

    FALL 2016 – SPRING 2017
    Target Center to remain open for events
    PHASE 2:
    Exterior Work Begins
    Loading Dock
    Marshalling Yard

    SUMMER 2017
    Target Center shutdown
    PHASE 3:
    New Lobby Built
    Locker Rooms
    Dressing Rooms
    Public Restrooms
    Concourse Improvements
    Additional Club Spaces
    Food and Beverage Improvements

    Since Sacramento, San Francisco, Detroit and Milwaukee are getting new arenas, the Jazz will have the oldest arena. The former Delta Center was built in 1991.

  7. Oooooh, Salt Lake City. Only big 3 sports team out there. Cue “oh, no, we won’t be a real city anymore” argument. Lambs to the slaughter!

  8. JCP: Exactly. I don’t think a Seattle team will happen any time soon, but if Mr. Hansen dropped a cool $1Bn on the table (you know, go all Ballmer on them…), I have a feeling there’d be a hasty press conference and lots of champagne and backslapping etc.

    It’s something fans don’t discuss when a ridiculous offer for a franchise comes along (be it Ballmer for the Clippers, a media company for the Maple Leafs, Cuban for the Mavs or Magic & Co for the Dodgers), but this very fact has a chilling effect on sales and expansion. The perceived value of a generic franchise jumps, taking out any number of potential bidders (IE: those who don’t just see it as a vanity move).

    Does the fact that someone was willing to pay a ridiculous amount of money for any given franchise raise the value of all others? Not necessarily… unless you happen to be the owner of one of the others, obviously.

  9. Does Chris Hansen have $1B to drop? No one seems to know but he’s apparently worth at least $300M and he runs a firm worth $3B so the number is somewhere in that wide range but it seems no one knows exactly how much.

    Ballmer has a net worth around $24B.

  10. Hansen already has to put in something like $300-400 million into the arena and land and then would have to drop more money on a team. There’s crazy passion projects, but that’s crazy for someone not showing cards that they’re a billionaire.

  11. The reality is this. Another expansion team ( aka more Union Jobs) is a bargaining chip for the NBA. Besides that, the League needs to make sure that all the i’s are dotted and the t’ s crossed, because unlike say Phoenix, there is a lot of opposition to a New arena. The one thing about Seattle is this: They no longer are the threat to other Cities that they once were, so they are less valuable then before, so I suspect that within 5 years they will have an Expansion Team. By the way, there is no one who thinks the Suns or even Coyotes are moving to Seattle ( or in the Coyotes case, Quebec City). Even the Coyotes Ownership is not pushing that. Why? The NHL wants a team in Phoenix, and are keeping them in Arizona. Why? With the Projected Number One Draft Pick (Matthews) from Scottsdale, and ASU going Division One in Hockey, the sport is growing here in Arizona, the League wants that.

  12. I doubt one number-one pick who’s a local boy has nearly as much impact on the league’s decision as Bettman’s ego about insisting that his Southern strategy will work.

    Fortunately for Arizona, Hansen can’t currently build an arena without the NBA, and the Quebec economy is in the crapper.

    • I agree Matthews is not as big as Bettman, but ASU is huge. Like the Coyotes or not, they are playing a huge role in spreading hockey in my area ( Mesa Arizona), not to mention generating enough interest for the Sun Devils to go Division One. It’s almost like the Rutgers effect on the Big 10. The intrinsic value of them is worth more then the actual value.

  13. Detroit may be building a new arena, but I’ve seen no indication that the Pistons will be moving there.

  14. “…the intrinsic value of them is worth more than the actual value…”

    Could you perhaps mean “speculative” or marketing value? Their intrinsic value would be their actual value.

    Descriptors aside, though, this sounds like an argument based on that ancient (and false) business model roughly approximated as: “We lose a little on every sale, but make it up on volume”.

    The Coyotes lose somewhere between $30-40m each season on operations and have done for about a decade. The fact that the league’s internal welfare system covers about half that each year (revenue sharing) and that an external welfare system (Glendale tax dollars) have historically filled some of the rest of that gap is irrelevant to the viability of the business.

    The fact that I may be fortunate enough to have a rich uncle who will pay my gambling debts does not make me a successful professional gambler.

  15. “Since Sacramento, San Francisco, Detroit and Milwaukee are getting new arenas, the Jazz will have the oldest arena. The former Delta Center was built in 1991.”

    I can see Chris Hanson buying the Jazz and moving the team to Seattle in time for next season. Basketball is the only major pro game in town in Salt Lake City.

    • Because the Jazz are the only team in town, expect politicians and fans to fight any Chris Hansen effort to steal the Jazz from Utah.

  16. I hate to be a naysayer on college hockey here–but generally speaking NO team in college hockey draws more than about 11,500 people on average. That includes a number of teams with a very long lineage in hockey.

    So I’m glad ASU hockey has a chance to be popular, but saying it needs a pro-style arena seems to be putting the cart before the horse. An average attendance of 10k would be an incredible feat.

    Arizona State Men’s Basketball has average attendance of under half the capacity of its arena. Sure, the success of the team has something to do with that, but you can’t just plan on winning. So why is this new arena needed?

    • I suspect the plan is to get a new hoops arena and turn Wells Fargo Arena into a hockey facility. No one is talking about an NHL sized arena for ASU College Hockey, a facility that seats 5,000 will be fine. Penn State does very well at that number. I agree that ASU does not do well @ College Basketball ( especially when compared to the University Of Arizona ( U of A). But it can change. For example: if you look @ Penn State, Basketball is finally starting to pick up. They just had their best recruiting class ever. Why? Finally recruiting in Philadelphia. ASU can do well if they can recruit better in Phoenx. But they need out of the Wells Fargo Arena.

  17. ASU has been basically mediocre at basketball in any arena they’ve ever played in. Maybe they should build an arena where the students could actually go to the games easily?

    In fact, there are some folks hanging around here who believe that an NHL team will go in halfsies with ASU to build a new hockey arena.

    Penn State is the perfect example of a school that completely overbuilt its basketball arena. Even when they are at a high mediocre level, they struggle to get 45% of the seats filled. This has a long term cost for college basketball teams.

  18. The plan that Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton has is an Arena for The Suns and Coyotes. The Jordan Center @ Penn State is too big I agree, but it is very antiseptic and no one likes it ( reminds me of the days when bad Pirate Teams played in Three Rivers Stadium). Penn State is doing a “Sports Master Plan” ( coming out this Summer), and three things at the top of the list are. 1: Beaver Stadium Renovation. 2: McCoy swimming and diving facility ( almost 50 years old). 3: Bryce Jordan. Jordan Will not come down ( they sell it out for Concerts). But the basketball team needs to get out of there.,I would like a 10,000 Seat basketball only arena ( like Pegula for hockey). I do not know if Economics will allow it.

  19. While they may not want to discuss specifics of an expansion right now, it’ll be part of any current labor negotiations. If they’re thinking about expansion at all – and they always are – then you can safely bet that contingencies for an expansion will be included in the labor agreement.

  20. In all honesty, no current NBA team will move for at least 5 years; too many new arenas, renovated arenas and proposed arenas in markets the NBA would frown on leaving for Seattle to compete with. Until we start seeing new shakedowns starting in 2020s, expansion is Seattles only hope, but even then they run into the problem of needing another expansion team; unless someone in Montreal, Kansas City, St Louis, Vegas or some other notable owner+willing city steps up then Seattle might get shut out due to lack of a tag-team partner in the expansion.

  21. The NBA doesn’t have every team play at the same time like MLB or the NFL, so there’s no absolute requirement for an even number of teams. Until the Bobcats were created in 2004, the NBA happily enough operated with 29 teams. (And with 27 teams for a few years before that.)

  22. They already have enough horrible teams as it is. A scrappy D-League team could take it to the Lakers or the Sixers. That Bobcats team a couple of years ago, that finished with the worst winning percentage of all time.

    With ads coming for the jerseys, they should be raking it in. Why expand, and further dilute the already sucky talent pool?

  23. The NBA won’t expand for a long time. It doesn’t matter if Chris Hansen and his partners offer a $1 billion dollars expansion fee because NBA owners aren’t going to share lucrative television revenues with Chris Hansen or anyone else. Secondly, after Hansen’s illegal campaign contribution to fight the proposed arena in Sacramento he likely burned any good will he had in the NBA.

    The bottom line is that the city and county have no business pitching in $200 million. If Chris Hansen wants an NBA team, then he shouldn’t expect help from Seattle taxpayers.