Seattle Eyeing Sports Arena Deal, Hoping To Lure NBA, NHL Teams

A Seattle Times report has revealed that city officials may be planning to bring an NBA team back to Seattle by next fall.

The pain of losing the Sonics may not last too much longer for Seattle fans. In an investigative report, The Seattle Times revealed that officials in the Seattle mayor's office and a San Francisco hedge fund manager are engaged in a focused effort to try to lure an NBA or NHL franchise to the city and build a new arena, possibly as early as next fall.

The city released an agenda for a mid-December meeting that listed "Review of Basic Deal Structure," "Financing Issues," including "City Debt Capacity," and "Security for Public Financing," as discussion items. In e-mails to city officials, Christopher Hansen, 44, a Seattle native who made his fortune in finance, Hansen discussed how he was involved in plans to broker deals for an arena that didn't involve tax increases or "direct public funding."

The real news nugget came farther down the page, which you should really consider reading all the way through, when reporters revealed the NBA team Seattle may have its eye on:

Although the documents don't mention how Seattle would obtain a team, they show the city has been following developments in Sacramento, which is under a March 1 deadline to come up with a viable proposal to build an arena for the Sacramento Kings. In September, Carl Hirsh, a New Jersey arena consultant hired by the city in July, emailed a copy of an Associated Press story to Ethan Raup, the mayor's director of policy and operations, that outlined the Sacramento situation.

If Sacramento fails, the Kings could be playing in Seattle next fall if the city and Hansen reach an agreement, according to a Seattle City Hall source who has been briefed on the matter.

What's more, the Phoenix Coyotes may be the target to be the hockey neighbor in the new arena.

In addition, National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman has expressed a strong interest in placing a team in Seattle, leading to widespread speculation that the financially struggling Phoenix Coyotes could be moved here.

We'll have more on this story as it develops. For all your Seattle sports news, visit SB Nation Seattle.

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