Inevitable? Yes, the NBA is inevitably disappointing for Seattle
Never has inevitable felt so far away.
But this is the NBA we’re talking about, so what did you expect?
And anyone who was trying to spin Tuesday’s news as a positive sign when it comes to the NBA returning to Seattle is either painfully optimistic are unbelievably naive.
Because while it might sound good to hear that NBA commissioner Adam Silver told Blazers player C.J. McCollum that expansion was inevitable and cited Seattle specifically as being on the short list for consideration, well, what he said before that was far more telling:
Coming off of these Finals, you have some fans saying, ‘There’s only one good team in the league.’ And I’m thinking, ‘Well, if people really believe that even though we have 450 of the best players in the world, and 450 players can only form one really good team, probably doesn’t make sense to expand in terms of dilution of talent.’
– Adam Silver
It echoes what Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said in an email to me last year: “The economics don’t favor adding another franchise.” And let’s remember that Cuban was one of two owners to vote against the Sonics’ relocation, with Paul Allen being the other.
The NBA just finished the first year of a nine-year national TV contract that will pay a total of $24 billion, so we’re eight years away from the door even being cracked for a new team to enter.
In other words, Seattle can’t wait on the NBA before arranging for a new arena, which is actually one of the more attractive elements of the Oak View Group’s proposed project at Seattle Center. That project can begin without a formal acquisition of a team to serve as an anchor tenant. Not only that, but all indications are that the NHL would be more likely to land in Seattle before an NBA team.
While Chris Hansen’s proposed SoDo arena is no longer beholden to acquiring an NBA team specifically first, the descriptions of the request to buy a chunk of Occidental Avenue from the city outline that the street would not be vacated until an NBA or NHL team is acquired.
If someone builds it, the NBA very well may come. Eventually.
Or as Silver would say, inevitably.