NBA Rumors: 'Most' Insiders Believe Seattle Will Be Considered for Any NBA Expansion

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVDecember 7, 2021

FILE - In this March 24, 2008 file phoito, Seattle SuperSonics fans hold signs in favor of keeping the NBA basketball team in Seattle during an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers at KeyArena in Seattle. KeyArena is getting an appropriate send off Friday, Oct. 5, 2018, with an NBA game being played once again under its roof as the former home of the SuperSonics will see the Golden State Warriors meet the Sacramento Kings in a preseason game. Afterward, the building will be shuttered and remodeled. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File

Seattle is expected to be among the cities considered for a new NBA team if the league decides to expand beyond 30 teams.

John Hollinger of The Athletic reported it is a "mere formality" that Seattle would be among the chosen cities.

Seattle has been without an NBA team since the Sonics relocated to Oklahoma City and rebranded as the Thunder. The move, which was made over Seattle's refusal to build a new arena, was polarizing at the time given the Sonics' rich history and Seattle's standing as a passionate basketball city.

Fans of the team have held several rallies in support of bringing back the Sonics over the last decade-plus without success. The Kings were nearly relocated to Seattle in 2013 before Vivek Ranadve purchased the franchise and kept it in Sacramento.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been noncommittal about expansion in the past but admitted last December that the league was delving deeper into the possibility. 

"You know, we're very appreciative of the markets that have indicated an interest in having an NBA team," Silver told reporters. "One of the issues for the league office, and this comes up all the time in terms of competitiveness, it's not a secret that we don't have 30 competitive teams at any given time right now when you go into the season, measured by likelihood of ability to win a championship.

"One of our focuses as the league office is always on how do you create better competition. So that's one of the things that we continue to think about as we consider expansion. ... It's an economic issue and it's a competitive issue for us. So it's one that we'll continue to study, but we're spending a little bit more time on it than we were pre-pandemic."

Adding teams is one way for governors to expand their own revenue pie. Silver said an estimated $2.5 billion buy-in figure for an expansion team is "very low" in comparison to what the league would want. The Brooklyn Nets' sale price of $3.3 billion is the only team that has sold for more than $2.5 billion in NBA history, but the league would be at a unique opportunity to bilk the highest possible price from expansion governors.

An expansion of two teams could generate revenue upwards of $6-7 billion, money players would not receive a part of under the NBA's collective bargaining agreement.