The NBA May Be Dead in Seattle
When Oklahoma City Thunder chairman Clayton Bennett left Seattle without an NBA time after 41 years in July 2008, he promised to reward the city with $30 million if antiquated KeyArena was approved for refurbishing by the conclusion of 2009 and Seattle did not have a new team by 2013.
Well ... the city of Seattle and state of Washington had a juicy chance to stick it to Bennett where it hurts by passing Senate Bill 6116, which would have helped revive KeyArena to current NBA standards as well as a much-needed face lift for the University of Washington's Husky Stadium, which can't live off its gorgeous view of the Puget Sound forever.
Instead, the state of Washington legislature spent more time debating the bill than actually adjusting it and allowed the plan to basically die before being voted on. The legislative session ended two weeks ago without a vote and there is little chance for a special session to revive the bill. So not only did the city of Seattle ruin a chance to snatch $30 million from the despised Bennett, KeyArena will sit untouched indefinitely, making Seattle a much less attractive carrot for NBA owners looking to relocate their teams. NBA commissioner David Stern has repeated that expansion is out of the question for now, especially with so many clubs struggling financially.
A rebuilt KeyArena would have allowed Seattle to emerge as a No. 1 option for NBA relocation and the Puget Sound would have seen a return of the Sonics before 2020. Now with CB 6116 lying dead on Interstate 5, the NBA will be nothing more than dying memories in Seattle. If the year ends without a passed bill to rebuild KeyArena, Bennett retains his $30 million and is essentially proven right on his assertions that Washington was not prepared to keep the Sonics.