City of Seattle

NBA Planning Preseason Game In Seattle

The NBA will return to Seattle next preseason with a familiar face for Pacific Northwest fans, according to Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee.

Kevin Durant, who spent his rookie season with the SuperSonics before the franchise moved to Oklahoma City, will lead the Warriors against the Kings on October 6 at Key Arena, Voisin writes. It will be the first NBA game at the facility since the Sonics left after the 2007/08 season.

The Kings also have a connection with Seattle, as it appeared the team might move there when it was put up for sale five years ago. A deal to sell the team to a Seattle-based ownership group was reached in January of 2013, but it fell through when Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson was able to assemble a group to keep the Kings from leaving.

Two months ago, Seattle’s City Council approved a proposed $650MM renovation of Key Arena in hopes of attracting an NBA or NHL franchise by the end of the decade. The refurbished arena will hold 18,350 spectators for NBA games and 17,150 for NHL games.

And-Ones: Ball Brothers, Seattle, Mexico, World Cup

LiAngelo Ball and LaMelo Ball may end up playing together in Lithuania, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Jonathan Givony of ESPN, who report that the Ball brothers are in “serious discussions” with Prienu Vytautas. The Lithuanian team intends to decide within the next day or two whether to officially sign Lonzo Ball‘s two younger brothers, sources tell Wojnarowski and Givony.

LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball, who are looking to play together for a professional team after officially hiring an agent and forgoing their NCAA eligibility, likely wouldn’t get a chance to play many minutes in the Lithuanian (LKL) league, per ESPN’s report. According to Wojnarowski and Givony, the Ball brothers would likely see more action – perhaps 20 to 25 minutes per game – in the less competitive Baltic League. As Givony tweets, the pay for the Balls would almost certainly be minimal, and the small Lithuanian town of Prienai would hardly be a “glamorous” place to continue their careers.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • TNT’s David Aldridge is the latest reporter to examine the possibility of the NBA returning to Seattle. While the city looks like a good bet to be awarded an NHL franchise, the NBA and its team owners are less gung-ho about the idea of expansion, according to Aldridge, who notes that team owners wouldn’t want to further split the money from the league’s $24 billion TV deal.
  • In a separate – and interesting – piece for NBA.com, Aldridge takes an in-depth look at the range of emotions experienced by NBA head coaches who get fired.
  • With the NBA making a concerted effort to grow its brand in Mexico, this season’s G League All-Star Game will be replaced by a contest that pits G League All-Stars against the Mexican national team, per The Associated Press.
  • FIBA officially announced on Monday that the 2023 Basketball World Cup will be staged in multiple countries, with Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines earning hosting rights..

And-Ones: Top International Leagues, Seattle, Ball Brothers

While the NBA as a league is as popular as ever, the gap between the best league in the world and the plethora of international options is shrinking. ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla recently broke down the world’s top leagues in a must-read feature for any hoops fans curious about the basketball scene outside of the NBA.

Fraschilla ranks EuroLeague as the best non-NBA league. It’s the continent-wide league of top clubs from domestic leagues in countries like Spain and Turkey. The league is very financially stable, Fraschilla writes, noting that approximately 100 EuroLeague players are making as much or more money than the bottom 100 players in the NBA.

Fraschilla highlights Spain’s Liga ACB, the Turkish Basketball Super League and Russia’s VTB United League as the top pro leagues based in a single country.

Other leagues mentioned in the feature include Australia’s National Basketball League and the Chinese Basketball Association, both of which are growing in popularity of late.

There’s more from around the basketball world:

  • It’s official, Tim Leiweke‘s Oak View Group is investing to refurnish KeyArena in Seattle. Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports breaks down the latest in the pacific northwest city’s pursuit to reclaim an NBA franchise.
  • Professional basketball hasn’t always succeeded in Mexico. Most recently, Nathaniel Janowitz of ESPN writes, the Capitanes de Ciudad Mexico of the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional have tried to win over hoops fans in the country’s capital.
  • Both LiAngelo Ball and LaMelo Ball have an agent, Jeff Goodman of ESPN writes, so neither will be eligible to play college basketball. As Bleacher Report’s David Pick writes, their chances of playing in a competitive league overseas aren’t exactly great either.

Seattle Agrees To Key Arena Renovation Proposal

Seattle’s City Council passed a Memorandum of Understanding on Monday that would allow for a proposed $650MM renovation of Key Arena, making the building ready for an NBA or NHL franchise by 2020, NBA.com’s David Aldridge tweets.

The renovated Key Arena would hold 18,350 spectators for NBA games and 17,150 for NHL games. The city backed the renovation proposal of Oak View Group, headed by longtime sports executive/AEG CEO Tim Leiweke and entertainment mogul Irving Azoff, rather than billionaire Chris Hansen’s efforts to build a new arena, Aldridge adds (Twitter links).

This moves Seattle closer to being NBA-ready by 2020, Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports tweets.

After losing its franchise to Oklahoma City to 2008, Seattle has been considered a likely destination for expansion or relocation. Commissioner Adam Silver confirmed that notion over the summer, saying Seattle “no doubt be on a short list of cities we’ll look at.” However, the city needs a suitable arena to make that happen and the memorandum puts the wheels in motion.

Pacific Notes: Ball, Durant, McGee

The Lakers have no intention of taking Lonzo Ball out of the starting lineup anytime soon, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes. The rookie guard has struggled mightily with his jump shot over the course of his first month in the league but the franchise remains committed to his development.

He’s our starting point guard,” Lakers head coach Luke Walton said. “So there’s no discussion, no talks as of now of moving Lonzo to the bench. Nah. He’s our starting point guard.

The much hyped Lakers point guard – who cut his hair earlier today(!) – has averaged 9.0 points, 6.6 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game so far this season but is just .303 from the field and .230 from beyond the arc.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division today:

  • Among several excellent aspects of an interview with Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report, Warriors forward Kevin Durant spoke candidly about the Thunder and their move from Seattle to Oklahoma City. An under reported asset that the Bay Area offered Durant in free agency is a similarity to the Pacific Northwest town in which he broke into the league. “To be part of a franchise moving, no player, especially a rookie, expects that,” Durant said. “I didn’t even think that was in the cards. Obviously, I wasn’t in on the deal, nobody asked me any questions. So as long as we got to play somewhere, it was cool with me. I was 19, I didn’t know the effect a team moving had on fans or a city. As I got older, I realized how huge a team leaving a city is, how devastating that must have been for the fans. Every time we’d go to the West Coast, we’d see Seattle jerseys and you’d start to realize that was a huge, huge part of people’s lives.
  • A solid debut with his new franchise could boost Greg Monroe‘s trade value, Cody Cunningham of Phoenix’s official team site writes. The big man dropped 20 and 11 in his first game for the Suns since coming over alongside draft picks in the Eric Bledsoe trade.
  • The Warriors haven’t been featuring JaVale McGee heavily in their regular rotation, opting to play him only if matchups call for his length and athleticism. “You definitely have to humble yourself a little bit, just because we’re competitors. We want to play,” McGee told Mark Medina of The Mercury News. “But you can’t complain on a winning team. I understand if we were losing and I’m thinking, ‘I can help.’ But we’re a part of a winning system.”

And-Ones: Youth Movement, Asian Influence, Seattle

The current crop of NBA rookies is one of the best that hoops fans have seen in years, Spencer Davies of Basketball Insiders writes. The scribe cites Ben Simmons and Jayson Tatum as two first-year players who’ve looked poised and dominant in significant roles out of the gates.

It’s not just a top-heavy class either, however, all of Kyle Kuzma, Lauri Markkanen and Donovan Mitchell have impressed over the course of their first months in the NBA.

The youth movement may not be limited to the 2017/18 season though. Marc Spears of The Undefeated recently profiled the 12 best collegiate players who could make an impact at the NBA level as early as next season, going so far as to declare that Michael Porter Jr. should have greater star power than anybody in the 2017 class.

There’s more around the league:

  • As the world economy shifts, more and more prominent Asian businesses and billionaires are looking to buy into the NBA. Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune breaks down the trend that formally started when Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor sold a 5% stake in the franchise to Lizhang Jiang.
  • While Tim Leiweke remains confident that he and his Oak View Group represent Seattle’s best chance of regaining an NBA franchise, it’s not necessarily going to happen as soon as some fans would hope. He spoke on the topic at length with Q13’s Bill Wixey.
  • The BIG3 will add retired point guard T.J. Ford to its ranks, an ESPN report says. The guard averaged 11.2 points and 5.8 assists per game over the course of 306 NBA starts in eight seasons.

Plans To Restore Seattle’s KeyArena Revealed

Details of a facility proposal that could bring the NBA back to the Pacific Northwest were presented to Seattle’s City Council today, Chris Daniels of King 5 writes, but don’t dust off that vintage Detlef Schrempf jersey just yet.

A press conference to discuss the occasion was scheduled for today but was promptly cancelled after the abrupt resignation of mayor Ed Murray following the latest in a series of sexual abuse allegations.

As Larry Stone of the Seattle Times writes, given that Murray had been a been a strong proponent of the proposal to restore 45-year-old KeyArena, the mayoral vacancy could potentially open the door to other parties interested in providing a pro sports-ready venue.

Just last week we discussed how a Chris Hansen-led inevstor group similarly interested in reviving the spirit of the Sonics offered to repurpose KeyArena, but as a smaller scale venue after construction was completed on their own brand new facility in the Sodo District of town (where MLB’s Mariners and the NFL’s Seahawks play).

Shortly after that Hansen group offer was made public, however, a statement from Seattle’s Office of Economic Development said that they should have submitted a formal proposal months prior when the city specifically solicited them.

It was during this formal solicitation period, that Oak View Group, a Los Angeles-based sports development company spearheaded by former Raptors executive Tim Leiweke, did put forth a submission to renovate KeyArena, with intentions of housing both an NHL and an NBA franchise.

It’s at this point where things grow even more complicated.

Back in 2012, Hansen and his group actually came to an agreement with the city that they would build their new arena in the Sodo District but it was contingent on the NBA officially rewarding the city a franchise, which obviously has not happened at this point.

That pact expires in early December, an Associated Press report says, meaning that three months from now, the city will be officially free of their commitment to Hansen and thus eligible to vote on the Oak View Group proposal, which could see renovations on the 45-year-old building starting, possibly, as early as October 2018.

As Daniels explains in his King 5 article, the details of the Memorandum of Understanding revealed today lay out some of the financial obligations that the Oak View Group would have toward the city, the logistics of parking and how inevitable traffic problems could be mitigated.

Whether this all ends up happening, of course, is contingent upon the city voting to approve the proposal later this year. If the Oak View Group’s support weakens with Murray’s sudden absence, for example, we may see an opportunity for Hansen and company to sneak back into the picture.

Alas, as Stone writes, there appears to be a decent amount of inertia behind the Oak View Group’s proposal and “the heft of city politics still seem aligned” behind it.

Latest On Seattle’s Quest For An NBA Franchise

For much of the past half decade, a group of investors led by Chris Hansen has sought ways to build an arena in Seattle that could house an NBA team and possibly an NHL club as well. The group, however, has faced resistance, most recently from a city council that refused to grant it access to a city street necessary for construction in the Sodo District.

On Thursday, an Associated Press report broke news that Hansen’s group would also be willing to help rebuild and modernize KeyArena as a venue for concerts, after the construction on the new Sodo facility had been completed, that is.

From 1967 until 2008, KeyArena was home to the NBA’s SuperSonics and the building currently remains on a 74-acre plot in downtown as a multipurpose facility and the home of Seattle’s WNBA club.

Despite the fact that Hansen’s group is aggressively pursuing a franchise – they’ve already pivoted from seeking to use public money to privately financing the project – their plans of building a facility near those of the Seahawks’ and Mariners’ facilities would require the purchase of a portion of Occidental Avenue South.

As recently as May of 2016, however, Seattle city council voted against such an acquisition 5-4, some councilmembers steadfast against the idea of vacating a prominent, industrial city street in the name of supposed “gentrification.”

If the proposal to rebuild KeyArena was intended as an olive branch for city officials, it wasn’t taken as such. Almost immediately after issuing their proposal, Seattle’s Office of Economic Development shot them down, referring to a formal request for proposals that was held earlier in 2017.

If Hansen’s group wanted to modernize KeyArena, the office suggested, they should have formally proposed their plans when the city was requesting them. As things stand, a Los Angeles-based company already has a finalized draft to renovate KeyArena for $564MM with the intention of housing NBA and NHL teams there.

What does this mean for hoops fans hoping for another basketball franchise in the Pacific Northwest? Not much, directly at least.

In April of 2016, NBA commissioner Adam Silver told Baker that a “shovel ready arena” wouldn’t hasten the league’s meticulous expansion process. More recently though, Silver told C.J. McCollum of the Players Tribune (yes, that one) in July 2017 that the league would inevitably start looking at growth of franchises.

Seattle will no doubt be on a short list of cities we’ll look at,” Silver told him.

Whether that hypothetical franchise suits up in a renovated version of KeyArena or somewhere in the middle of an industrial district slowly enveloped by sports facilities remains to be seen.

Silver: Expansion Discussion ‘Inevitable,’ Seattle On Short List

Asked in recent years about the possibility of expanding the NBA beyond 30 teams, commissioner Adam Silver has suggested such a move isn’t being actively discussed, and isn’t necessarily on the horizon. However, in a conversation with Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum for The Players’ Tribune (video link), Silver acknowledged that the league isn’t overlooking the possibility of expansion.

“I think it’s just a question of when the right time is to seriously start thinking about expansion,” Silver said. “I don’t want to put a precise timeline on it, but it’s inevitable at some point we’ll start looking at growth of franchises. That’s always been the case in this league.”

While Silver stops short of saying expansion itself is inevitable, his comments hint that he believes it will happen at some point. McCollum, who plays his games in the Pacific Northwest, asked Silver specifically about the possibility of Seattle getting a franchise again, and the commissioner confirmed that the former home of the SuperSonics will “no doubt be on a short list of cities we’ll look at.”

The NBA has featured 30 clubs since the Charlotte Bobcats entered the league in 2004, and Seattle has been without a team since the Sonics became the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008. Within the last decade, investors – including Chris Hansen – have made an effort to bring a franchise back to Seattle with a new arena or with renovations to KeyArena, but the league has not introduced any new teams via expansion or relocation during that time.

And-Ones: Seattle, Summer League, Ledo, Prigioni

Ray Allen has been in the news lately for his beef with his former Celtics teammates, stemming from his move to the Heat. Before he played for either of those clubs though, Allen was a four-time All-Star for the Seattle SuperSonics. The longtime marksman was at his best during his time in Seattle, averaging 24.6 PPG in 296 regular season contests, and he still has a fondness for his old home. As Alysha Tsuji of USA Today details, Allen suggested in a recent Instagram post that he wants to see the NBA back in the city.

“I still can’t believe that there is no basketball in Seattle!!” Allen wrote on an Instagram post that featured the hashtag #bringbackoursonics. “This city is too great not to have a hoops squad. Come on everybody we need to rally and bring the NBA back to Seattle. let’s make this happen people!!! The NBA misses traveling to Seattle, I know I certainly do!!!!!”

As we wait to see if Allen follows Russell Wilson‘s lead and officially joins a group trying to bring the NBA back to Seattle, let’s round up a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world…

  • The NBA officially announced today that a record 24 teams will compete in the Las Vegas Summer League from July 7-17 this summer. While multiple Summer Leagues take place in July, the event in Vegas continues to be the most popular.
  • As David Pick reports (via Twitter), Spanish team Baskonia made a roster move involving a former NBA player earlier this week, signing Ricky Ledo, a second-round pick in the 2013 NBA draft. According to Pick (via Twitter), the move to add Ledo was made because Baskonia feared that former NBA sharpshooter Chase Budinger would miss the rest of the season with an injury.
  • Pick has another update on Baskonia, tweeting that the Spanish club is considering the possibility of hiring Pablo Prigioni as its future head coach. Although he played four seasons in the NBA, Priginoi spent most of his career in the Euroleague, spending a long stint with Baskonia in the 2000s. He recently retired as a player, and it appears coaching may be the next step for him.
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