The Emerald City hasn't had an NBA franchise since Clay Bennett moved the Seattle Supersonics to Oklahoma City in 2008.
Ever since then, Seattle has been the top candidate for league expansion or relocation, but nothing has materialized over the previous 13 years. However, the times may be changing.
Glen Taylor has agreed to sell the Minnesota Timberwolves to Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore without a clause to prohibit the team from moving away from Minnesota, despite Taylor making public statements the agreement would include them.
Now, Minnesota-based reporter Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press wrote Rodriguez, a former Seattle Mariner, wants to relocate the team to Seattle rather than keep it in Minnesota.
"There’s buzz now that Kevin Garnett, who is said to be worth more than $200 million, will be heavily involved in the Timberwolves basketball department if he joins franchise investors Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore if/when they gain full control in 2023," wrote Walters. "The word is Garnett, the ex-Timberwolf, wants the franchise to remain in Minnesota but Rodriguez wants to move it to Seattle, where he played for seven seasons."
If Rodriguez wants to move the team to Seattle, it would require approval from the NBA and the league may be incentivized to put an expansion team in Seattle to generate over $2 billion in revenue, rather than relocate a team that sold for $1.4 billion.
Earlier this year, Brian Windhorst of ESPN wrote he has heard the NBA league office has "floated the price tag of $2.5 billion each for two expansion teams in the near future,” with Seattle and Las Vegas among the expected bidders.
Even if a clause was included to prohibit the move, legal experts told Chris Hine of The Star-Tribune it “would be tricky to enforce and would have to avoid being overly punitive in the case of a move for it to hold up in court."
Minnesota's lease with Target Center runs through 2034-35 with a $50 million buyout clause, 3.3% of the franchise’s $1.5 billion sale price.
Rodriguez and Lore will also buy the Minnestoa Lynx and it's unclear what would happen to that team if the Timberwolves move to Seattle, given the Emerald City already has the Storm.
One of the reasons the Supersonics moved was a lack of an arena that met NBA standards and after Clay Bennett failed to get $500 million in public funding from local taxes, he moved the team to his hometown. Since then, Seattle was awarded an NHL franchise, the Seattle Kraken which led to a renovation of Key Arena to Climate Pledge Arena. The arena meets modern NBA standards.
Seattle still owns all the history with the Supersonics name so an expansion franchise can take the name and reclaim the history similar to when the Cleveland Browns were moved to Baltimore and later an expansion team was placed in Cleveland.
This past summer, Kevin Calabro, the longtime voice of the Seattle Supersonics and former Trail Blazers play-by-play commentator, told NBC Sports NW's Joe Fann he thought the Supersonics could return within five years.
“I’m going to be an optimist and say it will be inside of the next five years,” he said on the Talkin' Seahawks podcast.