NBA commissioner not ruling out expansion for Seattle

Oct 25, 2012, 12:49 PM | Updated: 1:35 pm

NBA commissioner David Stern said Thursday he is excited about approval of a new arena in Seattle, but he says there’s no indication how or if the city will land its own franchise.

“We think it’s a great development in Seattle and we’re excited about it, but there is no current team in play and that’s going to be an issue for the owners to consider,” Stern said at an NBA Board of Governor’s news conference in New York in response to a question from KING 5’s Chris Daniels.

Stern said the league wouldn’t rule out an expansion franchise, but said it would largely be up to a committee of owners headed by Clay Bennett, who led the purchase of the Seattle SuperSonics and moved them to Oklahoma City in 2008.

“What I would say is I wouldn’t preclude it,” Stern said. “We have something called a relocation committee that is going to have it on its list of authorities to focus on and consider and report to the board on whether expansion is recommended or not.”

But Daniels reports Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban doesn’t see it happening. He said when asked about expansion, Cuban told him it wasn’t an option.

Stern’s comments came moments after announcing he would retire on Feb. 1, 2014, with Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver taking over. Daniels says he implied it would ultimately be Silver who presides over what happens with Seattle.

Meantime, Seattle fans’ hopes of landing a relocated NBA franchise were dashed this week by at least two franchises that had been rumored to be viable candidates. The league’s Board of Governors Thursday approved the sale of the Memphis Grizzlies to a Silicon Valley wireless technology entrepreneur who has vowed to keep the troubled team in Tennessee. The Milwaukee Bucks have reportedly agreed to a six-year extension to stay in Wisconsin.

That leaves the Sacramento Kings as the most likely candidate to make a move. Owners Joe and Gavin Maloof backed out of an arena deal with the city in April, leaving open the possibility they could consider relocation. But the Maloof brothers have reportedly turned down offers to sell the team, and Seattle investor Chris Hansen has indicated he’s not interested in working with a separate ownership group.

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NBA commissioner not ruling out expansion for Seattle