Seattle finally has its long-awaited NHL team. The league unanimously approved adding Seattle as the NHL’s 32nd franchise on Tuesday.
While hockey fans in Seattle have a lot to celebrate right now, many may start to wonder if this will be a gateway for an NBA franchise to return to the Emerald City?
NBC Sports NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh shared his thoughts on the possibility of an NBA team joining Seattle in the future:
“With betting-related revenue and a fresh TV deal lining the pockets of NBA owners, business is booming in the league. It seems like a ripe time for NBA expansion, right? Unfortunately, there has been no talk about expansion.
Even if the league decides to add a team to its field of 30, Las Vegas may have jumped Seattle in line. It's a much friendlier climate for gambling these days and the league already has built roots with Summer League there. While the NHL news makes me more bullish on the NBA following suit, I don't see a good chance that Seattle gets its team back in the next five years. But in the next 10? I feel better about those prospects.”
Haberstroh says it’s not off the table for Seattle to get a team in the form of a relocation by another team. He noted Memphis could be the next NBA team to be sold.
“Keep an eye on the Memphis Grizzlies who could move back to the Pacific Northwest if owner Robert Pera decides to cash in and sell the team. But don't expect that to happen anytime soon; Pera told season ticket-holders in the past year that he's committed to the city of Memphis.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in May that the league has no significant plans to expand right now, noting he wanted to keep his focus on “creating a competitive 30-team league.”
While an NBA team won’t likely call Seattle “home” anytime soon, one can only dream of the sweet possibilty.