Exploring the rumour that the NBA want a Seattle franchise back in the league

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Since 2008, there has been one big thing missing from the NBA.

No, it is not Chris Webber, who had to retire because of his faltering right knee. Well, maybe he is missed a little in some quarters. But not as much as the city of Seattle is.

The Supersonics left Seattle and eventually rebranded as the Thunder in Oklahoma in 2008 after 41 years in The Jet City.

Hell, even Fraiser stopped airing in 2004! But as the 15th largest metropolitan area in the United States with a population of nearly 4.5 million in total for the area, there surely should be a place inside the NBA's top 30 franchises for Seattle - or beyond.

According to reporter's Sam Amico, one NBA owner said the following about a Seattle return: “It’s a big priority.”

So could the SuperSonics be on the verge of making a return? It's certainly plausible and it’s important to point out the city has remained in control of the team’s logo, colours and other details surrounding the SuperSonics in case of this eventuality.

It's been reported that A group led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen has revealed it will pay for the entire cost of a new arena, meaning the public wouldn’t have to foot the bill.

This certainly greases the wheels for the return and makes life easier for the NBA. The franchise that gave life to the likes of Gary Payton, Ray Allen, Nate McMillan and Rashad Lewis could welcome a new crop of talent in the new future if Hansen gets his way.

The Associated Press added more details about the lengths Hansen’s group is willing to go in order make the return as smooth and easy as possible and most importantly, avoid any potential obstacles.

"Hansen’s group is now offering to pay for the project privately. Additionally, the group is offering to contribute to a transportation project near the proposed arena that would help deal with freight traffic at the Port of Seattle, a sticking point in past efforts, in exchange for a waiver of the city’s admissions tax and an adjustment of the city’s business and occupation tax."

It seems like Hansen's group of money men has plenty of bases covered and are very passionate about making this return happen. The question that inevitably follows pertains to the effect a Seattle comeback would have on the league.

Would a franchise uproot and head to Seattle? Or, could the NBA be set to host another expansion?

Seattle's preference, given all of the time and effort and local identity attached to the project, which also appears very personal to Hansen, would surely be for the latter so they can forge their own way.

Gary Payton II, who currently suits up for the Houston Rockets, may well have an interest in continuing his father's legacy and representing his hometown franchise?

The hometown attraction could also apply to Ryan Anderson, Rodney Stuckey and Nate Robinson. Hardly an All-Star linup, but with the return of the franchise the city could certainly buzz once more.

The wheels appears to be in motion. While we could still be a way off a final decision, the NBA will be a better place for one of the largest and most passionate cities in the U.S. back in the league.

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