“I think it’s a possible goal. But I don’t think it’s likely to happen unless we have a tangible and complete plan for the remodeling of KeyArena. If we had that in hand last week, in my view, we’d either have kept the Sonics or gotten assurance of another team.”
Following last Friday’s vote by NBA owners to approve the team’s move, Stern didn’t rule out the possibility of a replacement franchise in Seattle.
“The Board (of Governors) is mindful that Seattle is a first-class city whose fans historically have been terrific fans and still are, but whose infrastructure has not been willing to participate in an arena,” he said. “I guess what I would say, without going further, is that we’re mindful that if Seattle had a first-class arena that would really be good for their prospects.”
While Gorton said Seattle officials “have not given (Stern) a plan with an arena adequate for the NBA in the 21st century,” a solution can be reached if one comes forth and the NBA commits to returning to Seattle.
“All the league has to do to lead to an amicable settlement is see to it that we’re assured of a new team,” Gorton said.