On Thursday, Wilson said he plans to have an ownership …

5 years ago via ESPN
On Thursday, Wilson said he plans to have an ownership stake in the basketball team, should the NBA return to Seattle. “Yeah, I will. Yes, for sure,” Wilson said. “It’s going to be an exciting thing. “I met Chris a few years ago, and we were having a great conversation. … I’ve told you guys I’ve been really authentic about wanting to own a team one day and being a part of something really special and doing that. And even though I’m young, I definitely have a business mindset. And I want to be able to help people and give back and help change this community, continue to change this community for the better.”

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Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is joining the investment group looking to build a new NBA/NHL arena in Seattle's stadium district. Lead investor Chris Hansen said Monday that Wilson is "a young, smart and passionate entrepreneur," and is joining the group as a business partner.
Russell Wilson: The NBA needs that green and gold back. Seattle needs basketball back. And hockey, too. (The Seattle Metropolitans won the Stanley Cup in 1917, in case you didn’t know.) So I’m doing what I can to make that happen. I have partnered with the Sonics Arena Group to help bring the NBA and the NHL to Seattle.
Russell Wilson: To me, this is about more than nostalgia. We live in divisive times, and sports have a way of bringing people closer together. They allow us all — children and adults — to use our imaginations and dream. I want kids in Seattle to grow up dreaming of playing basketball or hockey for their hometown team.
Russell Wilson: I became a SuperSonics fan by playing NBA Jam and watching them on SportsCenter and NBA Inside Stuff. I loved their name. I loved their colors. I loved Kemp and Payton, and then in later years, I loved watching Ray Allen swish corner threes with that perfect form. Even though we lived in Virginia, I got a Sonics jersey one Christmas and I used to put it on and go play hoops out in front of the house, pretending I was Gary Payton. I’m not going to lie, though. Some days I’d put on my Bulls jersey and stick my tongue out and pretend I was MJ, too. I was flexible.
A City Hall source has confirmed that the Los Angeles-based Oak View Group, founded in a partnership between Leiweike and entertainment mega-manager Irving Azoff, is interested in developing KeyArena into a multipurpose facility that could handle NBA or NHL teams. A powerful, new Los Angeles-based company headed by sports executive Tim Leiweke and concert kingpin Irving Azoff wants to renovate KeyArena and make it compatible for NBA and NHL use. “We believe in the KeyArena location,” Leiweke, CEO of the 11-month-old Oak View Group, told The Seattle Times in an interview Thursday night. “We believe that the studies have proven — and we will continue to do additional studies as we go through this process — that there is a chance to renovate and make that arena work for music and sports.
Chris Hansen and his investment team on Tuesday offered to forgo public financing to build a new sports arena in Seattle's SoDo neighborhood. The group also said it would cover the current funding gap to build an overpass over Lander Street, a project long desired by freight and industrial interests concerned about congestion in around the Port of Seattle. The proposal amounts to a stunning and swift turn in the nearly five-year debate over building a new arena and, ultimately, bringing a professional basketball and hockey team to the city.
Chris Hansen, Erik Nordstrom, Pete Nordstrom, Wally Walker: "In a letter to the Mayor and King County Executive — both of whom share our goal of bringing the Sonics and NHL back to Seattle — we described the steps we are willing to take to move the Arena project forward. First, we will direct contributions to a package of additional SODO traffic improvements, which will improve freight mobility through the area. Second, we agreed to commit future payment of compensation for the vacated street to the city’s financing package for the Lander Street Overpass, thereby helping to close the funding gap for that important project. Finally, we have agreed to revising the street vacation petition to eliminate public financing of the Arena. Terminating the MOU would allow the city and county to recoup the $200 million in debt capacity and free-up Arena tax-generated revenue streams. To make this all possible we have asked for approval of a revised conditional street vacation, a waiver of the city’s admissions tax, which has been granted for the other sports venues in Seattle, and an adjustment of the city’s B&O tax for revenue generated out of town."
Spencer Hawes: 🙌🙌🙌 - RT: Sonics Arena: We’ve spent the past five months working on the future of the #SeattleArena project. Details: www.sonicsarena.com
Seattle was a strong NBA market for many years, going crazy for the Sonics of Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, which reached The Finals in 1996. From 1995-99, the Sonics basically sold out Key Arena, and they never averaged less than 14,300 fans from 1991-2007, their next-to-last season in town. The city and surrounding area has a rich tradition of producing NBA talent, including current players Isaiah Thomas, Jamal Crawford, Jason Terry, Marvin Williams, Spencer Hawes, Rodney Stuckey and Aaron Brooks. “Seattle is a far better market than at least 10 NBA cities,” said a very high ranking executive of one of the league’s 29 teams last week.
For Seattle, the only realistic choice is expansion. The reasons for not expanding now are varied, and logical. There’s no reason for owners to split an exploding financial pie further. The NBA is in a boom period, with market size not nearly as important as it used to be. The league does not need to have a team in Seattle, the country’s 14th largest TV market. (The success of the Thunder in Oklahoma City, ironically -- and, sadly for Seattle -- only magnifies the point.)
Seattle was a strong NBA market for many years, going crazy for the Sonics of Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, which reached The Finals in 1996. From 1995-99, the Sonics basically sold out Key Arena, and they never averaged less than 14,300 fans from 1991-2007, their next-to-last season in town. The city and surrounding area has a rich tradition of producing NBA talent, including current players Isaiah Thomas, Jamal Crawford, Jason Terry, Marvin Williams, Spencer Hawes, Rodney Stuckey and Aaron Brooks. “Seattle is a far better market than at least 10 NBA cities,” said a very high ranking executive of one of the league’s 29 teams last week.
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 https://www.instagram.com/p/BE7I-6mGAoU/
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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The state Department of Health Services reported that 491 people with confirmed or probable cases said they had attended the Deer District or Bucks game “during their exposure or infectious periods” but the department could not say definitively that they caught the virus while viewing the game downtown or elsewhere. The department also said the figure was likely an undercount. “We anticipated an increase in positive cases due to the delta variant but 155% increase in one week is distressing,”Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson said.