From KING5 News in Seattle:
Seattle Arena investor Chris Hansen reiterated his commitment to the city Friday, after one of his biggest financial partners has apparently moved on. Steve Ballmer acknowledged earlier in the day that he has entered into an agreement to purchase the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers.
“First, I would like to congratulate Steve Ballmer on his apparent successful bid for the Los Angeles Clippers. Steve’s passion for basketball and commitment to the NBA will make him a great owner and strong asset for the league,” said Hansen in a statement. “I would also like to assure Seattle fans that my remaining partners and I remain committed to bringing the NBA back to Seattle. The environmental review process for the Seattle Arena is nearing completion and we will soon be in a strong position to attract a franchise back to the Emerald City.”
If you’re new to this story, you may be wondering why a guy who wants to bring a basketball team to Seattle is of any concern to hockey fans. The answer is, the guy who wants to bring a basketball team to Seattle is also the guy who has formal plans to build an arena — an arena which could also house an NHL team in that city.
And according to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, that same guy, Hansen, has little interest in building an arena if there’s no basketball team to play in it.
“The sense I get is he doesn’t want to build a building just to have a tenant,” Bettman said. “And since he seems to have things tied up with the city for the next three years, give or take, there’s no certainty about a building.”
In other words, at this point, no basketball team for Seattle means no hockey team for Seattle. Which, again, is why we mention the basketball guy hasn’t given up.