5 NBA Teams Most Likely to Relocate to Seattle Before David Stern Retires
On September 11, 2012, investor Chris Hansen and the city of Seattle agreed on a plan to build an arena that could potentially house an NBA franchise (via ESPN). On October 15, the King City Council and the Seattle City Council gave their final approval of the proposed deal (via ESPN).
One day later, King City Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn signed the legislation to make the deal official (via ESPN). Mere days later, NBA commissioner David Stern announced that he will retire on February 1, 2014 (via ESPN).
Consider October to be the most active month in the history of Seattle, Washington.
With the arena all but built, the city of Seattle may have an NBA franchise for the first time since the SuperSonics left for Oklahoma City in 2008 (via ESPN). The question is, will a current team need to relocate in order for the franchise to become an official member of the NBA?
If so, which franchise will it be that leaves their current city?
Although nothing is official, the following slides will display which five teams could be leaving their present location before commissioner Stern retires in 2014. So who has less than two years remaining in their current city?
2011-12 Win-Loss Record: 40-26 (5th in Eastern Conference)
Average Home Attendance: 15,199 (23rd in NBA)
Average Percentage of Seats Filled: 81.2 (24th)
The Atlanta Hawks have been in the bottom half in league attendance in every season since 2001. In that time, they've been in the bottom 10 teams in all but one of those years in the league.
Surprisingly, the Hawks have also made the playoffs every year since 2008. They've made it out of the first round in three of those seasons, which appears to mean nothing to an unenthusiastic fan base.
With poor ticket sales and marketable figures in Al Horford and Josh Smith, this makes the Hawks a prime candidate to pursue a change of cities.
After all, a team can win all they want. When the fans can't fill the owner's pockets, however, why stay?
With Chris Hansen placing so much money into this potential franchise, it would be hard for him to pass up on the opportunity to secure the Hawks. Both Horford and Smith are 26, which suggests that they are just now entering their primes.
They've also established a history of making the postseason, as well as contention for the All-Star Game.
With high-profile names, a pedigree of success and an unsupportive fan base, the Hawks could be the perfect franchise to relocate. The question is, will the Hawks' front office be willing to relocate their organization?
2011-12 Win-Loss Record: 7-59 (Worst in NBA)
Average Home Attendance: 14,757 (25th)
Average Percentage of Seats Filled: 77.4 (28th)
Let's be fair to fans of the Charlotte Bobcats who opt to support their team from their couches. At this point in time, there really isn't anything to get excited over when your favorite team goes an NBA-worst 7-59.
By NBA-worst, of course, we're referring to the worst winning percentage in NBA history at .106.
With that being said, even the Bobcats' run to the 2010 postseason couldn't fill seats. The Bobcats sold an average of just 82.9 percent of their available tickets that season, ranking 22nd in the NBA.
Although there is not much talent to acquire, the Bobcats are the type of start from scratch franchise that Seattle could be looking for.
What should be most promising to investor Chris Hansen is the fact that the Bobcats are almost certain to have lottery picks in the next two or three seasons. With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Kemba Walker already under contract, that also means they have the stars of the past two NCAA Championship-winning teams.
There has to be a silver lining somewhere, right?
Whether or not Michael Jordan would move the Bobcats to Seattle is questionable. Charlotte is close to his hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina, which could be a major reason that the move would transpire.
With the potential for a larger market and a great source of revenue, however, MJ could be swayed.
2011-12 Win-Loss Record: 41-25 (4th in Western Conference)
Average Home Attendance: 15,704 (20th in NBA)
Average Percentage of Seats Filled: 86.7 (17th)
The Memphis Grizzlies have established themselves as one of the best teams in the Western Conference. They've also become one of the most vulnerable franchises in the NBA.
As is life for a franchise when they've received a change in management.
In turn, a potential move due to Seattle is a serious possibility.
The new owner is Robert J. Pera, who is the founder and CEO of Ubiquiti Networks. Pera, who is just 34 years old, is joined by Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, former NBA star Penny Hardaway and a group of other buyers in their recently established group of owners for the Grizzlies (via ESPN).
Fortunately for those in hopes of keeping the Grizzlies in town, Memphis native Justin Timberlake is another owner involved (via ESPN).
With all of this being established, the group of 30-year-old owners could be prone to a drastic move. Although Timberlake would prefer to keep his hometown team in Memphis, an opportunity to move to a new arena with a great potential for profit could entice the buyers.
Although undetermined in possibility, there is a chance that the Grizzlies make the jump. Until it has been determined that they will not make the move, this could transpire.
2011-12 Win-Loss Record: 31-35 (9th in Eastern Conference)
Average Home Attendance: 14,718 (26th in NBA)
Average Percentage of Seats Filled: 78.6 (25th)
Over the past four seasons, the Milwaukee Bucks have been in the bottom four in terms of percentage of seats filled. Most recently, they sold a pathetic 78.6 percent of their available tickets, which suggests that Milwaukee just doesn't care for their team.
With an average of just 14,718 fans in attendance during 2012, it's possible that the team may be struggling to reach the postseason due to their lack of support.
With a handful of key players approaching free agency, including both guards Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, the Bucks could be faced with rebuilding. If that proves to be the case, owner Herb Kohl could potentially opt to relocate.
Clearly the available option for such a move would be Seattle.
Seattle would offer a relatively larger market with fans who remain in an uproar over the loss of the Sonics. Such suggests that the team would find a greater level of support in a new city.
Should the franchise re-sign both Jennings and Ellis, the move could be complicated. Although both players are familiar with the West Coast, locking up a significant amount of money in two players that may not win a title could be a hindrance.
The way the upcoming period of free agency transpires could decide the future of the under-appreciated Milwaukee franchise.
2011-12 Win-Loss Record: 26-40 (12th in Western Conference)
Average Home Attendance: 14,508 (27th in NBA)
Average Percentage of Seats Filled: 83.8 (23rd)
Does anyone actually feel comfortable with the future of this franchise? Despite the fact that Sacramento is the capital of California, which is quite the fine city, the Kings appear to be on their way out.
Even if they are just "rumors."
Phillip Newswanger and Bill Cresenzo of Inside Business falsely reported that the Sacramento Kings were moving to Virginia Beach, Virginia (via Inside Business). This comes after a full calendar year of stories surrounding the Kings' inability to secure a new arena (via ESPN).
As of July 4, 2012, the Kings' plan to build a new sports arena in Sacramento had fallen through (via ESPN).
This leads to pressing times for the Maloof Brothers and the city of Sacramento. Even Sacramento Mayor and former NBA player Kevin Johnson is getting in on the effort, which makes it clear how badly the team wants to stay.
Considering they've been at the bottom of the Western Conference since firing Rick Adelman in 2006, however, it appears as if luck is not one of the Kings' great virtues.
If any team is to relocate, it would be the Kings. Despite the passion of the city to keep the team in town, they ranked 27th in terms of average home attendance.
They also ranked 23rd when it comes to average percentage of seats filled with a head-scratching 83.8 percent.
If the fans want their team to stay in town, they should start attending the games. If they do not, don't be surprised at all to see the Kings move to King City.