Kevin Durant on Seattle: 'I'm still really attached to …

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The other night I reached out to a lot of media and league people in my contact list and simply asked, "Is expansion on the table?" I had 57 people respond, 14 of those either did not comment or said they didn’t know. That leaves 43 other responses. Some that really jumped out were: "With no arena, you’d get 14, maybe 16, votes toward expansion." "I’ve heard there are 14 definitely for it." "It [expansion] is definitely on the table and being discussed." "There are two who are fully no, everyone else can have their mind changed."
Those would be the four most pessimistic responses that I got. The rest were definitely a lot more, well I got goosebumps and it made me giddy. A couple of my favorites: "If Seattle had a new building, they would pass expansion." "An hour after Seattle approves their arena, they’d have an offer in hand."
I’ve heard that once the CBA is finished, the expansion bidding could be announced as soon as December or as late as the All-Star Game in February. There are going to be numerous other cities competing with Seattle to get the expansion franchises as well. I do not know if there is just going to be one slot or two. Other cities I’ve heard that are going to be making a play for expansion are Louisville (they have all their affairs in order and ready to go), Pittsburgh, Omaha, Las Vegas, Vancouver, BC, and Mexico City. Kansas City and St. Louis have been brought up as well, but I can’t confirm the validity of their interest.
Raul Barrigon: Brian Windhorst on the Kings keeping the franchise in Sacramento instead of Seattle having a team again: "Basically the NBA owners took a bribe... That's a little bit of a crude term, but basically took a bribe that they wouldn't have to give revenue sharing to Sacramento. In turn, allowed the Kings to put together a very weak ownership group. The offer from Seattle was a much more stable and stronger ownership group, with Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer."
But it was clear coming back to the town where his NBA career began sparked some emotion within the four-time NBA scoring champ. Because Seattleites aren’t the only ones who fantasize about what Durant could have done in this city — Durant does, too. “When the Seahawks won the title, and I was with the Thunder, and we were playing well, I was imagining how the city would have felt with both teams here,” Durant said. “It would have been electric. It would have been something we’ve never seen before — something no city has seen before. But we can dream, man.”
It ain't over yet. That's if you believe property records that show Chris Hansen just completed another big purchase in Seattle's SoDo neighborhood. According to those records, Hansen -- the San Francisco-based investor who's leading the charge to bring professional basketball back to Seattle -- paid $32 million for a warehouse and other connected buildings that border S. Holgate Street. The property, more than 4 acres in size, stretches from S. Holgate Street all the way south to Walker Street. The price paid by Hansen's company is nearly three times the assessed value. His company, known as WSA Properties, now owns close to $100 million of property in the SoDo neighborhood. One source close to the dealings said, "This is still all about the Sonics."
Ballmer had partnered with entrepreneur Chris Hansen on his Sodo District arena project but left that group two years ago to buy the Clippers for $2 billion. “It’s just not likely to happen,” Ballmer told those attending the conference. “There has been no discussion about expansion since I have been involved with the league. So, I don’t think that will happen. The league has really moved to favor teams staying in their current markets. You’d have to find a team that’s at the end of their (arena) lease, where it looks hard to build an arena and where they’ve tried really hard to build an arena. “And you’d have to show that an arena can get built in Seattle,” he added. “Because unlike most other cities that build an arena before they have a team, I don’t think an arena is going to get built here before a team comes here unless it gets done in the context of hockey.”
Yesterday, KJR's Dave "Softy" Mahler had a pair of Sonics legends on his radio show and they each had interesting comments about the future of the NBA in Seattle. In hour one, Softy spoke to Spencer Haywood about his upcoming documentary "Full Court." Spencer had some interesting comments that came from a place not of speculation, but straight from the mouth of the NBA Commissioner. According to Spencer, Adam Silver told him... "Will you help the people in Seattle understand that we want to make amends? We want a team back in Seattle immediately."
In the third hour, Softy brought on former Sonic and new Indiana Pacers head coach Nate McMillan. Mac 10 told the fans to keep the faith because the NBA is noticing. "I would say to all the fans continue to do what you’re doing, the NBA, they recognize that. They recognize that it is a great city and I think the next team that comes available will end up in Seattle." "That city deserves it. It’s a great sports town."
Gary Payton wants to bring the NBA back to Seattle -- and he's willing to put his money where his mouth is ... telling TMZ Sports he absolutely wants to be an owner of an expansion team in the Emerald City. The Hall of Famer was leaving Mastro's Steakhouse in Bev Hills when he told us Seattle "deserves" the NBA -- and put it on NBA commish Adam Silver to make it happen. As for why GP's so passionate about Seattle -- "That's where I started my career, that's where I became a Hall of Famer."
Gary Payton wants to bring the NBA back to Seattle -- and he's willing to put his money where his mouth is ... telling TMZ Sports he absolutely wants to be an owner of an expansion team in the Emerald City. The Hall of Famer was leaving Mastro's Steakhouse in Bev Hills when he told us Seattle "deserves" the NBA -- and put it on NBA commish Adam Silver to make it happen.
Spencer Hawes: Fuck the Seattle city council. First they let our Sonics leave and now they kill our shot at getting them back. Over an ALLEY! Disgusted in the people elected to run our wonderful city. #bringbackoursonics
In “The Shawshank Redempton,” Andy Dufresne claimed that hope was a good thing — “maybe best of things” — but it seems to have backfired here. This was supposed to be a slam-dunk vote toward inching closer to an NBA arena. Instead, the Sonics faithful just got slammed. “The city’s past actions contributed to the Sonics leaving Seattle,” Seattle mayor Ed Murray said Monday. “Today’s council vote makes it less likely that the NBA will return.”
B/R: Will Seattle ever get another franchise? If so, should the team be called the Sonics? NR: I hope it has a franchise again. It should be called the Sonics, for sure. Nothing should change. Keep the same colors—just swag the jerseys out. S--t, the main reason Seattle should have a team is because of the ballers it produced. Kevin Durant right now would tell you [that] if he had the chance to go to the Sonics or stay in OKC, he for sure would be in Seattle, and he wouldn't want to leave ever. Myself, Isaiah Thomas—he has f--king offense—Jamal Crawford, we could build a Seattle team that would compete in the NBA, for sure. Brandon Roy, Marvin Williams, give us Zach LaVine, Avery Bradley, Aaron Brooks, Spencer Hawes, Jon Brockman, Rodney Stuckey...we're taking all Seattle guys.
"We are 30 partners right now. Thirty teams. Each of those teams own 1/30th of all the global opportunities of the NBA. So the issue becomes, if you expand, do you want to sell one of those interests off to a new group of partners? One reason to do it of course, is that if its additive. And no doubt, Seattle is a great market. At the moment, like for me as successful as the league is right now, we (are) not in the position, putting even aside profitability, where all 30 teams are must-see experiences. That's not a secret."
The Seattle Times has reported that Seattle city officials knowingly brushed off the feasibility of bringing an NHL or NBA team to a remodeled KeyArena. Another long-time Seattle media member counters that it's unlikely that taxpayers or developers would want to pay for a renovation anyway. 710 ESPN Seattle's Danny O'Neil believes both stories are missing one major component of the debate. "Whether or not KeyArena can be retrofit to fit NBA or NHL standards doesn't really matter at all unless you can find someone who's willing to buy a team from one of those leagues and then plant it here in a retrofitted KeyArena," he told Seattle's Morning News. "I think this is a debate about a moot point, essentially."
O'Neil says the reason a KeyArena remodel isn't realistic is that Seattle would need someone who owns one of those teams in either the NBA or NHL to sell those leagues on that arena. "And I don't see that happening," O'Neil said. "The only reason Chris Hansen has stepped forward and come up with the most feasible plan, or the one that actually has some money behind it right now, is because what he can develop around it in SoDo with those properties."
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