NBA Commissioner David Stern has been made aware that an effort is underway to bring an NBA team back to Seattle, but he still sees two major roadblocks to that plan -- funding and a new arena, according to Brian T. Smith of the Salt Lake Tribune.
"Everyone says to us, ‘Well, would you consider going back?’ Of course, if they have a building. And so that’s where it’s left. We have no involvement,” Stern said. “But if anyone asks us, we tell them what we know and we’re happy to talk to them ... There’s no shortage of potential sites, but the funding is a huge issue.”
The Emerald City lost its franchise after 31 years when the SuperSonics picked up and left for Oklahoma City in 2008 to become the Thunder. Efforts to bring hoops back were first uncovered last week by the Seattle Times -- hedge fund manager Christopher Hansen has been working with the city for eight months to build a basketball arena just south of Safeco Field, the home of the Mariners.
"We had heard reports of some interest in Seattle, and [Hansen] is not totally unknown to me," Stern said. "I think he came in and I met with him, it must be a year ago. Just a general conversation; he was brought in by a mutual friend." Stern also added that with 30 teams, the NBA currently has no plans to add more franchises in the United States. Seattle can only gain a team if an existing franchise chooses to relocate.