The Phoenix Suns have not had significant renovations to their arena since March 2003. Negotiations for new changes have since stalled.
The mayor of Phoenix and two city councilwomen have asked to postpone a vote from the council about whether to approve $150 million worth of upgrades to Talking Stick Resort Arena. As of right now, the vote is expected to fail.
According to reporter Lauri Roberts, the Suns are using a threat of moving as leverage to help sway the voters (via AZ Central):
“Whether they get a continuance or not could mark the beginning of a showdown between the city and Suns owner Robert Sarver, who is telling some council members that he will take the team to Seattle or Las Vegas.”
With the successful inaugural season of the NHL’s Las Vegas Golden Knights and news that Seattle will have a hockey team starting in 2021-22, it isn’t a surprise that these two cities, in particular, are being mentioned.
Both cities will have arenas ready as well as an embedded fan base ready to support the franchise. The Oakland Raiders are also scheduled to move to Las Vegas in 2020, making it a hot destination for teams after locals spent years pushing for a pro sports team to move there.
Recent reports indicate that the NBA won’t consider expansion anytime soon. As such, the only way Vegas or Seattle will get a team in the immediate future would be if a team relocates.
However, any team that moves to Seattle would take on the franchise identity of the SuperSonics. It is extraordinarily unlikely that even if the renovation vote is not approved, the Suns disband to become the Sonics. There is simply too much history with the team, which entered the league in 1968.
Even though it seems more likely that Phoenix would relocate to Las Vegas if this isn’t settled, one would have to assume that the dispute between Sarver and the city will be resolved. That seems like the path of least resistance rather than all the drama and work of a relocation.