By EVAN WEBECK
of The Seattle Times
The NBA is reportedly returning to Seattle ... for a game, at least.
The Sacramento Bee reports the Kings and Golden State Warriors will play an exhibition game in Seattle on Oct. 6, with the Warriors acting as the home team.
“The contract for the game has not yet been signed, but that is considered a formality,” the Bee reported.
It would be the first NBA game in the city since the Sonics left following the 2007-08 season.
Kevin Durant, now part of the defending NBA champion Warriors, spent his first NBA season in Seattle after the Sonics took him No. 2 overall in the draft. Of course, the next season Clay Bennett moved the team to Oklahoma City, Seattle never got to watch the next year’s first-round pick, Russell Westbrook, and the rest is history.
“That would be amazing, looking forward to that if it’s true,” Durant said Wednesday of the reported Seattle game. “That’s going to be a dope experience.
“... It was always about the people. Always walking around Seattle, they were passionate about being Sonics fans. It would be cool for basketball.”
This isn’t the first time Durant has returned to Seattle since the team departed for Oklahoma City. Most recently, he visited the city to help renovate a basketball court in the Central District’s Powell Barnett Park. This past summer, Durant participated in Spokane’s Hoopfest 3-on-3 tournament. One of Seattle’s loudest advocates in the league, Rainier Beach alum Jamal Crawford, also brought Durant — and a slew of other NBA players — to his yearly Seattle Pro-Am.
Rick Welts, the Warriors president, grew up in Seattle and worked for the Sonics from 1979 to 1989.
With this matchup comes even more history. The last time Seattle was as close to getting a professional basketball team as it is today — closer, in fact — was Chris Hansen’s failed attempt to bring the Kings to Seattle in 2013.
Wednesday’s news comes as Seattle’s NHL bid is gaining momentum. On Tuesday, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that a season-ticket drive for a potential hockey team would begin March 1. A week earlier, an ownership group led by billionaire David Bonderman and Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer had submitted their application for an NHL expansion franchise, along with a $10 million fee.
The NHL situation complicates where the game might be played. KeyArena is the first venue to come to mind, but construction on the Oak View Group’s $600 million renovation is expected to be completed by October 2020, meaning they could be doing work there of some sort.