NBA Teams We'd Like to See in Seattle
The NBA's Board of Governors sent a clear message when it slammed the door on the Sacramento Kings' prospective move to Seattle, but rest assured, this won't be the last shot the Pacific Northwest will take at replacing its long lost Sonics with one of the league's floundering franchises.
Marc Stein of ESPN reported that the Kings aren't going anywhere:
Sources: NBA owners vote to back relocation committee recommendation to REJECT proposed sale & relo of Kings to Seattle. Story posting now— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) May 15, 2013
We now know that the league is firmly against moving teams, which is an ironic (and unfortunate) stance as it pertains to Seattle, whose squad ended up in Oklahoma City overnight just a few seasons ago. If there was a perfect candidate to uproot and move to Washington, it was the Kings. Their attendance was horrible, their ownership greedy and inept.
But the Kings are staying in Sacramento.
It may be a long time before the NBA allows a buyer to purchase and move a team in one fell swoop, and in fact, expansion is probably a better avenue for Seattle to pursue in its quest to replace the Sonics.
There are, though, still a number of teams in the league whose waning attendance and poor play make them candidates we'd like to throw into the mix to move. Plus, there are a couple of other intriguing options that simply feel like they belong in Seattle.
*Attendance figures via ESPN.com
The Charlotte Bobcats have been historically terrible over their past two seasons, and their entire history is really just one long odyssey of failure. Sure, they found themselves in the playoffs in 2009-10, but that brief period of success proved to be an anomaly in an otherwise disaster-ridden existence.
The fact that the 'Cats have only been around for nine seasons should make the act of ripping them away from their fanbase in Charlotte relatively easy. The connections to a team that is known mostly for being a league laughingstock can only have grown so strong in such a short time.
Plus, North Carolina is college hoops country; it won't miss the Bobcats.
Given all of the hard times this franchise has endured under owner Michael Jordan's watch, it might just be best to start fresh in a new location. If MJ agreed to sell to a Seattle-based group, he'd be able to get out of a situation that is only tarnishing his legacy and put his franchise in the hands of a fanbase with a history of great NBA support.
That's a win-win situation.
Even during their brief playoff run this postseason, the Atlanta Hawks failed to draw much interest from their home fans. There are definitely plenty of diehard supporters in Atlanta—as is the case in every NBA city—but based on the empty seats in Phillips Arena's lower bowl, those devotees aren't affecting the team's attendance bottom line.
On the season, the Hawks drew an average of just 15,125 fans per home game, which ranked fifth worst in the league.
Maybe it's the traffic. Or perhaps everyone in Atlanta got tired of watching Josh Smith hoist up long twos with no hope of success. Whatever the cause, the Hawks simply aren't filling seats.
With an awful lot of cap flexibility and a chance to play in front of a packed house, it'd be nice to see what kind of transformation the Hawks could undergo in Seattle.
In addition, Seattle already has the Seahawks, so journalists could just recycle their bird-related puns if the Hawks landed in Washington. (See, it's easy!)
This will never happen, but we'd sure like to see how the Memphis Grizzlies would look in Seattle. And for the first time on this list, this is a team that former Sonics fans could really be proud to call their own.
Sorry, Hawks and Bobcats, you're not exactly hot commodities.
The Grizzlies have moved once before: from Vancouver after the 2000-01 season. And if you're not a geography buff, a relocation to Seattle would put the Grizz back in very close contact with their original Canadian supporters. With only about two-and-a-half hours separating Seattle and Vancouver, there's the potential for some very nice international TV money, too.
With a new, Memphis-based ownership group in place, the Grizzlies appear to be firmly positioned in Tennessee. But it's a lot easier to picture grizzly bears in the dense forests of Washington than it is at Graceland or on Beale street.
The Detroit Pistons have a championship pedigree unlike any other club on this list, which makes it painful to even imagine them leaving the Motor City.
But based on what we've seen over the past few seasons, it's starting to look like Detroit might not be a city that's financially capable of supporting its NBA team. Just two years ago, we learned that the Pistons were borrowing money to keep the ship afloat.
During the 2012-13 season, the Pistons averaged 14,782 fans per home contest—a figure that represented just two-thirds of full capacity at the Palace of Auburn Hills. The year before that, Detroit sold only about 65 percent of its available seats.
Sure, the product has been poor of late, but the Pistons used to be a team that drew well no matter how the team was positioned in the standings. It might be time to admit that the best way for the team to survive is to pull up stakes and move.
Plus, it's pretty clear that Seattle isn't bothered by the idea of taking on a team with very few useful players on the roster. Remember, it really wanted the Kings. So we know the bar has been set pretty low.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Wouldn't it be great if the new Sonics were the old Sonics? Hey, turnabout's fair play, and if Seattle really wants a team, maybe Chris Hansen and Co. (the guys who almost brought the Kings north) want to become saints in their home state and could fire out a massive offer for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Seattle doesn't just deserve a team; it deserves its team.
Oklahoma City supports its Thunder with an intensity that's tough to match, so it's hard to even think about moving a franchise that has definitely found a terrific home. But if we're talking about teams that we'd like to see take up residence in the Evergreen State, the best candidate is the one that did so as recently as 2008.
There are probably plenty of old Durant jerseys in storage buried beneath old sweaters and five years of pain. It's time to break 'em out.