NBA RETURNS TO SEATTLE
After years of advocating, protesting, discussing, and negotiating, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has finally given the nod to overturn his predecessor’s previously issued statement that if the Sonics leave, the NBA will never return to Seattle.
Recognizing that the city has always been a great basketball city, the league has agreed to a deal that will allow the investment group led by Chris Hansen, who has been actively pursuing for the return of the franchise (previously at the expense at the Kings) since 2013, to own an expansion franchise in Seattle, under the condition that a new arena will be constructed as soon as possible. A deal has already been reached with the city to build the new stadium.
“It’s a very exciting time, I’m sure Seattle fans are as excited as I am at the return of the Sonics.” Hansen said.
The team will play in the KeyArena while the new stadium is being constructed. An expansion draft will be held for the Sonics and the other to-be-named expansion franchise.
Due to this move, the Oklahoma City Thunder will be realigned to the Southwest division.
SECOND EXPANSION TEAM ANNOUNCED: CHICAGO GETS SECOND TEAM
Lakers and Clippers, Knicks and Nets, Giants and Jets, Yankees and Mets, Dodgers and Angels, Cubs and White Sox.
Some might cry foul, but there is no question that the biggest market cities will always have multiple teams of the same sport. If nothing else, the cross-town rivalry alone makes the league that much more interesting (and in some cases, more competitive).
It is in that spirit that the NBA has granted the second expansion franchise for this upcoming season to an ownership group headed by Illinois native and former Suns owner Jerry Colangelo the ownership rights to have his team in Chicago. Colangelo, 76, is an alumni of University of Illinois and began his career in professional basketball with the Chicago Bulls in various front office roles before moving on to the expansion Suns franchise in 1968, eventually becoming owner in 1988, and was named executive of the year on four occasions (77, 82, 90, 94). Recently retired NBA player Kevin Garnett, who played his high school ball at Farragut Career Academy in Chicago, will possess a minority stake in the team.
In a somewhat controversial statement, Colangelo blasted the current management of the Bulls when explaining his desire to bring a second team to his home state.
“Chicago is very dear to my heart, and it pains me to see Chicago basketball being run into the ground. The people deserve better than that and this is what I aim to do” Colangelo said.
Colangelo is expected to step down from his current position as advisor to the 76ers.
The team name and branding will be revealed at a later date. Unlike the Lakers and Clippers, the new team will not be sharing the United Center with the Bulls, but instead play in the new Chicago Stadium, which finished construction earlier this year.
EXPANSION DRAFT RULES SET
Details of the expansion draft have been released by the NBA. Adam Silver announced earlier this evening.
The rules used will be the same ones that were in play when Charlotte was awarded an expansion franchise in 2004, with 8 players being protected on each team. Only one player may be picked by either team during the draft, and the draft will be run on a serpent style for 13 rounds.
The Seattle Sonics have won the coin toss and will pick first.