Seattle reportedly expected to bid for NBA expansion franchise and the price tag is eye-popping


From 1967-2008, the Seattle Supersonics were the epicenter of professional basketball in the Emerald City before Clay Bennet moved the team to Oklahoma City. 

Ever since then, Seattle has not had an NBA team despite numerous efforts to resurrect the Supersonics whether it be failed purchases of other franchises such as the Sacramento Kings or hoping for expansion.

Well, it appears Seattle may get its wish.

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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. 

"Such a haul could mean about $160 million per team, a windfall that could wipe out the massive debt load that’s piling up, and that alone has perked interest in the expansion path," wrote Windhorst. 

Tim Bontemps of ESPN wrote last month “Seattle would likely be first in line" if the NBA decides to expand, which Adam Silver said was likely prior to the beginning of the 2020-21 NBA regular season.

“I think I’ve always said that it’s sort of the manifest destiny of the league that you expand at some point,” Silver said during a preseason press conference, per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “I’d say it’s caused us to maybe dust off some of the analyses on the economic and competitive impacts of expansion. We’ve been putting a little bit more time into it than we were pre-pandemic. But certainly not to the point that expansion is on the front burner.” 


One of the reasons the Supersonics moved was a lack of an arena that met NBA standards and after Clay Bennet 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.

[RELATED]: Kevin Calabro Thinks the Sonics Could Return to Seattle Within the Next 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.