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‘Odds Are High’ for NBA Return To Seattle, Says Mayor

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell added fuel to the fire that the NBA could be returning to his city.

After the loss of revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic for all major sports leagues, there's been growing speculation about the NBA undergoing expansion for the first time since 2004. 

Among the top potential markets for NBA expansion have often been considered Las Vegas and a return to Seattle.

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An NBA spokesperson denied the validity of Bill Simmons' recent comments about an ownership group in Las Vegas involving superstar LeBron James after he was to retire. However, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell is "actively engaging" to get professional basketball to return to the city. 

"The odds are high," Mayor Harrell said on Wednesday. "We're very intentional about it. I chase down rumors and I chase down actual people in a position to make that happen. I feel good about our opportunity."

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Among the initial factors that went into the Seattle SuperSonics' departure to Oklahoma City was the failure to gain approval of $220 million in public funding to renovate KeyArena, the former home of the franchise. Now that the arena has been renovated (it's now known as Climate Pledge Arena) having the thought of hosting the NBA in mind, there are no longer the same concerns.

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In December, the NBA sent officials to attend a college basketball game between Gonzaga and Alabama at Climate Pledge Arena. There was speculation about this being a way to judge the venue as a potential host for professional basketball. 

By adding two teams on the western portion of the United States, the NBA would need to move a few teams to the Eastern Conference. Among the logical options include two of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Memphis Grizzlies, or New Orleans Pelicans.