It's pretty obvious why news of the NBA purchasing the New Orleans Hornets is fueling the lingering hopes that Seattle fans have for getting a new NBA team.
Perhaps as Joel Knip of King 5 Sports said, "Another Sonics Hoop Dream that may never come true, but it is fun to dream."
Although Knip's statement is totally benign and understandably optimistic, I lean more toward our own Brian Floyd on this one: this is not the way Seattle wants to get a team back.
There is certainly space for a debate about whether a potential New Orleans relocation would be worse than SonicsGate, but that's like debating whether racism or sexism has a more deleterious effect on society - they both suck and the combination sucks more.
Whereas the drawn out political wrangling here in Seattle was cruel and unusual, is it really any better for the league to just buy the team outright and essentially force New Orleans fans "prove" their devotion to league with short-term attendance numbers? The demands make sense - particularly given George Shinn's role in this matter - in purely financial terms. But from a fan perspective, it seems that whatever hope the opportunity to prove years of fandom affords is potentially negated by the anxiety of knowing that you could well be spending money on a team that Big Brother could choose to move for its own ends anyway.
This is at once more transparent and yet more sinister than the Sonics situation, in a way.
New imagery for SonicsGate to use?
Nevertheless, regardless of whether you frame the New Orleans situation hopeful or upsetting, it's ultimately unrealistic to even believe that Seattle is a front-runner for NBA relocation, as described by Brian Berger of the Sports Business Radio blog.
Dissecting the Hornets situation | Sports Business Radio
Where might the Hornets move if they are relocated? The two places that could host an NBA team tomorrow because they have NBA-ready arenas are Anaheim and Kansas City. Many have asked me about Seattle, but Seattle won't ever get an NBA team back until they build an NBA-caliber arena - which will only be done with private money, because the taxpayers of Washington have already made it clear they will not help fund a new arena...Oracle owner Larry Ellison has long craved an NBA franchise. He would love to purchase the Hornets and move them to San Jose where the Sharks play. He'd be asked to pay a hefty territory fee to the new Warriors owners though.
Given the short time frame for resolving this matter and the fact that at least three other cities already have NBA facilities and potential financiers, Seattle might be a nostalgic candidate but can hardly be considered a heavy favorite for relocation.
And to be clear, I'm with Knip in that the fantasy of having a team somewhere in Seattle again is appealing in the abstract. But the prospect of going through the process of ingratiating ourselves to a league that a) already spurned us once, b) is demonstrating a willingness to seize control of failing teams like a state assumes control of failing schools under No Child Left Behind, and c) will likely choose to move elsewhere anyway just sounds sort of exhausting. And given that New Orleans is not the only team struggling financially - obviously, the Sacramento Kings are also in trouble and the Memphis Grizzlies are not too far behind by everything I've heard - is it even worth a city like Seattle hypothetically hustling to finance an arena in difficult economic times to make this work?
In theory, it is indeed fun to dream. Normally, I even hold fast to dreams. But if it's obvious that it will explode at some point, is there really any point to investing in it?
And if you're even asking that question, you're probably demoralized enough and need to avoid long-term trauma.