Top 5 NBA Teams Who Could Re-Locate to Seattle
Basketball fans have been sleepless in Seattle since the 2008 relocation of the Sonics to Oklahoma City.
For all the small-market charm the Thunder franchise now holds, it was the product of big business with usual and irreconcilable differences between an investment group and the city of Seattle. They were differences that predictably had to do with funding for a new arena.
Wouldn't you know all that funding has finally emerged, according to Matt Moore of CBS Sports—just five years too late.
While it may be too late for the organization formally known as the Sonics, that doesn't mean it's too late to bring in another team in its stead.
That team could even take on the Sonics name, left in Seattle as per the city's settlement with the investment group that took the old franchise south, according to the Seattle P-I.
Here's a look at five teams that could put an end to Seattle's tormented wait.
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The Maloof brothers haven't had any luck getting a new arena built in Sacramento, so the Kings' future remains anything but certain.
That doesn't necessarily mean the Maloofs will readily sell the franchise, but you certainly can't discount the possibility. The Seattle investment group led by Chris Hansen has to be intrigued with the young talent the Kings organization has infused into the roster, and it's hard to think of a better team to give Seattle a fresh NBA start.
The Kings may seem like a long suffering franchise, and that's because they are. There hasn't been much to get excited about since the early 2000s when Chris Webber and Mike Bibby made the team a regular postseason participant.
Recent history aside, the Kings' future is bright–assuming they find a stable situation in which to cultivate that future.
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You really don't hear much about the Milwaukee Bucks these days, and that's exactly the problem. This franchise's financial situation is even worse off than its middling performances on the court.
CBS Sports' Matt Moore reports that the situation may be so bad that selling the Bucks has become a very real possibility:
The Bucks have been losing money for quite a while and owner Herb Kohl is retiring from his political career. They just signed an exension on their deal with Milwaukee, but the lease isn't thought to be as ironclad as some other teams. Kohl's not short on cash, by any means, but eventually a losing proposition is a losing proposition.
Rumors that the Bucks could be up for grabs have been around for a while now, according to Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times, and that could mean one of two things.
It could mean the franchise isn't going anywhere on account that those rumors have yet to be vindicated with any concrete action. Or it could mean Kohl is chomping at the bit by now after years of inaction.
If he's been waiting for the right opportunity to come along, Seattle just might be it.
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The Memphis Grizzlies have to be on any list of unsettled franchises simply because the team was recently sold to a new owner, and that tends to raise some questions about what happens next.
But while the Grizzlies could be on the move in theory, The Sports Xchange suggests we shouldn't count on it:
Soon-to-be Grizzlies owner Robert Pera will reportedly sell up to 35 percent of the team to a group of local partners, which should help anchor the team in Memphis for years to come.
According to the Memphis Commerical-Appeal, Pera agreed to give the local ownership partners refusal rights and the option to buy the team at the current price if Pera decides to move it. He also agreed to a penalty of $100 million if the team is moved.
That's a pretty compelling demonstration of good faith to Memphis' fans. It's hard to imagine the Grizzlies taking off at any point in the near future at least, and that probably means Seattle is out of luck.
On the other hand, strange things do happen.
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The Charlotte Bobcats aren't just bad at winning games. They don't make any money either.
According to the New York Daily News' Mitch Lawrence, continued struggle could pave the way to new ownership:
Nearing the end of another lost season as Bobcats owner, Jordan recently told his GM, Rich Cho, to start planning for a rebuilding campaign. He also dropped a bombshell, telling Cho and other deputies that if this one doesn’t produce a winner and he continues to lose millions over the next “three to four years,” then he intends to sell the team.
MJ subsequently denied that report, according to the Sporting News, but what do you expect him to say? It's not as if anyone will hold it against him should he change course and sell three or four years from now. He has to placate fans for now, but that doesn't mean Lawrence and his source were off base.
The Bobcats have resorted to giving away tickets, according to Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo!, but in the event those kind of desperate measures fall short, this franchise may show up on Chris Hansen's shopping list.
Yes, it's hard to imagine Atlanta without the Hawks, but don't rule the possibility out just yet. The team was almost sold in 2011, according ESPN, in a scenario that would have kept it in Atlanta. But that deal was called off with the current ownership group remaining in place.
Though there haven't been subsequent rumbling about a sale, you have to think it remains a possibility given how close one became just a year ago.
Additionally, the Hawks are entering into a rebuilding phase that could threaten short-term profits. If there were ever a time to get out, now might be it.
Conversely, the Hawks would make for a pretty solid long-term investment given the cap-friendly roster and young talent like Josh Smith, Al Horford and Jeff Teague.