On Tuesday Jeff Bezos announced that he would be stepping down as the CEO of Amazon. The immediate hope of Seattle basketball fans was that Bezos would have the time to buy an expansion franchise and bring the Sonics back.
Bezos is an obvious candidate for a Seattle ownership group. With the expansion fee expected to be $2.5 billion or more, there are only a few people that can actually afford to buy an expansion franchise. Jeff Bezos is one of them.
Amazon also bought the naming rights to the arena where the Seattle Kraken of the NHL will play starting in 2021 and where a potential NBA franchise would call home.
The money and the Amazon connection makes Bezos a prime candidate to own Seattle’s NBA team.
Plus there is a timeline from the past that Bezos may be following.
Steve Ballmer announced his retirement as the CEO of Microsoft in August of 2013. He ultimately retied in February of 2014. Ballmer almost immediately engaged in the process of buying the Clippers, and officially became the owner in August of 2014.
Bezos will not step down until later this year, but if the timeline for Ballmer is followed, he could be the owner of an NBA team very soon.
This is important for Las Vegas’ hopes as an NBA city. The presumption is that when the NBA expands, Seattle will be first in line. But the NBA is likely to want to add two teams to keep the conference balanced at 16 teams each.
(Note: The NBA did have an odd number of teams from the 1980-81 season all the way through the 2003-04 season.)
If Seattle is ready to go, expansion to a second city should heat up. And Las Vegas is considered one of the front runners.