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What NBA teams are likely candidates to move to Seattle?


Now that the Seattle City Council has given the green light for a $490 million NBA arena, investor Chris Hansen has to find a team to play there.  We know Seattle's not getting the Lakers or the Heat. So which teams are likely prospects to move here?

Kurt Badenhausen, who covers the business of sports for Forbes, recently analyzed the NBA field to come up with a list of possibilities. Top among them is the Sacramento Kings.

"They basically have one foot out the door," Badenhausen said. "It’s just a matter of where they’re going to go."

He says the owners of the Kings – the Maloof family – have been trying to find another city for the team and almost moved to Anaheim, Calif. That got blocked by the NBA. Badenhausen says the Maloof family wants to keep the team, but they have a lot of debt and sponsors are defecting. So the Maloofs may be inclined to sell.

Another possibility is the Milwaukee Bucks – the NBA’s least-valuable team, according to Forbes. Badenhausen says their arena is not good, and there's another reason they might be a likely candidate to relocate. Unlike other teams that would face big penalties for breaking a contract, the Bucks could move pretty easily.

"The Bucks are on a year-to-year lease right now, so they have no ties to their current arena at all," Badenhausen said.

One complication is that owner Herb Kohl is a U.S. Senator who has pledged never to let the team be moved from Milwaukee. Badenhausen says since Kohl is in his last term, he may reconsider that promise.

In any case, Hansen will have to dig deep no matter what team he buys – The New Orleans Saints recently got bought for about $340 million dollars.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.