Seattle hasn’t had an NBA team since 2008 when the Sonics were moved and renamed Oklahoma City Thunder, but the city has turned over documents to The Seattle Times stating they may be searching for one.
Turning over records under a public records request, news has now surfaced that Seattle has been working behind the scenes the past eight months to bring back an NBA team to town. Possibly as early as next fall if the Sacramento Kings fail to get a stadium deal.
The documents requested included an agenda for a meeting that took place on December 13th, with topics including “Review of Basic Deal Structure,” “City Debt Capacity” and “Financing Issues.”
Christopher Hansen, a Seattle native, approached the city about his desire by buy an NBA team and build an arena south of Safeco Field, the documents show. Hansen told city officials an arena could be built with minimal impact on taxpayers.
“I really appreciate it and look forward to making this happen in Seattle. I genuinely mean that and am confident that with a little effort and creativity we can find a solution that meets our needs and the City’s/State’s desire to get a team back to Seattle without a large public outlay,” Hansen wrote in a June 16 email to Julie McCoy, chief of staff to Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, and Ethan Raup, the mayor’s director of policy and operations.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said Saturday he is taking the proposal seriously, but doesn’t want the city left “holding the bag.”
“It’s a pretty substantial commitment that would have to be made by the investors,” McGinn said, emphasizing that the city budget can’t be tapped to fund an arena.
He added that any offer also must honor the will of Seattle voters, who in 2006 overwhelmingly approved an initiative that says the city must make a profit on any investment it makes in a sports arena.