The Seattle SuperSonics will return to the Emerald City in 2014! Alright, perhaps that is a stretch. For now, we have to settle for Gary Payton lobbying for the team to return.
There are several goals for Seattle sports fans in the new year. It starts with a victory for the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl. Then, a competitive Seattle Mariners team would be nice. Finally, there would be added joy in Seattle if the NBA decided to grant Seattle a franchise again.
Standing in Seattle’s way? David Stern.
The confident commissioner will walk away from the job on February 1, 2014. From my vantage point, that increases the chances of a SuperSonics resurrection.
Why? Simple. Based on the relationship between Seattle and the NBA, it isn’t hard to draw a general conclusion. There is something about the city that Stern just does not like.
Am I suggesting that this is personal? In a way, yes. Look at what has happened from a business perspective. Do you really take a team from Seattle and put it in Oklahoma City? No. Sure, the Oklahoma City Thunder have been a fun team over the last few years, but once Kevin Durant starts to decline, is this going to be a better long-term solution than a cosmopolitan city like Seattle?
More recently, look at the situation with the Sacramento Kings. The NBA had a no-brainer opportunity to upgrade a franchise and increase their league revenue. Did the league allow the Kings to move, even though Chris Hansen was upfront about his desire to move the team after Clay Bennett was proven to be a liar? Strangely, no.
Two decisions that in the long run will cost the league money. What does that mean? Ego. Power plays. Personal agendas. At least, that is how it appears.
Now, when Stern leaves will the NBA immediately award a franchise to Seattle? Obviously not. The league is still in a situation where they have too many teams. Expansion is not in the cards. In addition, fans in Seattle have very mixed feelings about taking a team from another city. The loyal SuperSonics fans know what it feels like to have their team taken by a scheming businessman.
Maybe Stern will leave an extended legacy of keeping Seattle out of the club. However, perhaps February 1 will be a day where hope is renewed for the return of the Seattle SuperSonics.