Chris Hansen and Wally Walker stressed that having an alternative arena option, or an “insurance policy for the city” as it was termed in the letter to Durkan, gives Seattle the best chance to sway the NBA to grant the city a new franchise. “We just want a team back in Seattle,” Hansen said. “If there’s a team playing at KeyArena, I will have my courtside tickets or third row tickets or whatever I have, and I’ll be the first one in line to buy them, and I’ll be here in my Sonic jersey cheering on the team.”
Chris Hansen: “We’re not building the arena (in SODO) unless we have a team. If we have a team, it did not work at KeyArena for one reason or another. It’s not like we’re gonna build this building and then say, ‘OK, now we’re gonna go bid against them for an NBA team.’ That’s not what’s gonna happen.”
“I think there’s certain people that are spreading that in the local market,” Hansen said about the idea that the NBA has a problem with him. “I would just position this slightly differently. From the best of my knowledge, the NBA has absolutely no issue with us and I think (NBA commissioner) Adam Silver has said so publicly. So I would just take his comments at face value. Wally and I certainly have interactions with other NBA owners that we know fairly well, and I just don’t think there’s any evidence of that.
Chris Hansen and his investment team are taking another shot at getting the city of Seattle to approve measures that could one day lead to a new arena being built in the city’s SoDo neighborhood to woo back the Seattle Supersonics. Hansen sent a letter to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and the Seattle City Council asking once again for the city to approve the vacation of a portion of Occidental Avenue inside the proposed arena’s footprint.
Hansen said he has addressed concerns in the deal since their original proposal was rejected in 2016, including: promising no area will be built unless Seattle officially has an NBA team in hand, the arena is now 100 percent privately funded with no taxpayer dollars used, and $1.3 million for improved freight mobility in conjunction with the recently approved Lander Street Overpass.
Schultz writes that selling the Sonics “is one of the biggest regrets of my professional life,” saying he made a decision based on getting out of a bad financial deal instead of recognizing he should have been willing to accept losses until a local buyer emerged.