The Sonics left the league 11 years ago, after they had some financial problems and some misunderstandings with the city of Seattle, who turned down a deal to pay for a new arena. Because of that, Howard Schultz, who was the owner of the team back in 2008, saw himself in the position to immediately sell the team. This way, the franchise was relocated to Oklahoma City, nicknamed “Thunder”. There were some people who brought into discussion a possible comeback of the SuperSonics throughout the years, but they faded away as fast as they came as a hot topic of discussion.
This year, though, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver stated that Seattle could have a team of basketball in their city in the future. They had several tries, as there was some people, like Ballmer, the current owner of the Clippers, who wanted to buy teams like Kings or Milwaukee and move them to Seattle. It didn’t work out, as both of those franchises had found an owner right in time. The only problem with this process represents the fact that Adam Silver told two things: first of all, currently the NBA is not set on the expansion mode and second, he said that he would consider it a failure of him as a Commissioner if another franchise would have to be moved to another city instead of trying to solve their problems and remain where they are. Based on these words, it’s kind of clear that it will not happen in the next year or two.
Their home arena is going through a renovation process, as the city of Seattle is trying to lure a NHL team to play in Key Arena. The costs are somewhere beyond $800 million. This would be a key factor in the ultimate decision of Silver to give them a team, because the main reason for the SuperSonics relocation in 2008 was the old arena.
Athletes such as Kevin Durant, who played there his rookie year after they got relocated, Gary Payton, Russell Wilson or Spencer Haywood have been vocal about the situation and expressed their opinion on that. During the press conference held after Game 6 of the Clippers vs the Warriors, a reporter asked Durant if he would be willing to lend his name in order to bring the Sonics back to Seattle, and Kevin said “Since we left, I’ve been screaming that a team needs to go there”.
Also, he gave another opinion on that same subject in another interview earlier this year.
Kevin Durant shares his thoughts on possibly owning a piece of the Seattle Supersonics one day, and his interest in putting together a winning team, while mentoring young players. #KevinDurant #SeattleSupersonics #Seattle pic.twitter.com/o4VOVhbMG9
— Landon Buford (@LandonBuford) November 23, 2018
At this moment, the Sonics need to wait at least 3 more years, so when the NBA will abolish the “one-and-done” rule, many top-notch high school players could declare eligible for the draft in that year, so there will be an increase of the number of players, providing sufficient talent for expansion.