Seattle’s KeyArena to host NBA preseason game

Seattle’s KeyArena to host NBA preseason game

The NBA is returning to Seattle…well, sort of.

According to Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee, the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors have agreed to a preseason game next season in Seattle’s KeyArena.

The game – scheduled for Oct. 6 – will be the first NBA game inside the arena since April 13, 2008, when the then Seattle Supersonics defeated the Dallas Mavericks 99-95. At the conclusion of the season, the Sonics franchise moved to Oklahoma City and became the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Despite being a preseason game, the matchup is significant for a few reasons. Seattle basketball fans have been lobbying for the return of a professional basketball franchise in the city since the Sonics left in 2008.

In December, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was approved by the Seattle City Council for an estimated $600 million renovation of the arena by the Oak View Group. The Oak View Group – an ownership group led by billionaire David Bonderman and Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer – is leading the charge to bring an NHL franchise to Seattle. The renovation is expected to be complete in time for the 2020-2021 NHL season.

A preseason game is a starting point for the NBA to gauge interest in the city and get an idea if Seattle could support an NBA team if a franchise were to be rewarded in the coming years.

With the Oct. 6. game date, renovations won’t begin on KeyArena until mid-October, allowing two years for renovations in order to open up the arena for an NHL franchise in October 2020.

The Kings-Warriors matchup will also feature the return of Kevin Durant to Seattle. Durant, 29, was drafted second overall by Seattle in the 2007 NBA draft and spent the first year of his professional career in the Emerald City. Durant won NBA’s Rookie of the Year award during the 2007-2008 season before continuing his career in Oklahoma City with the Thunder, where he played from 2008-2016 before signing with Golden State in July of 2016.

Voisin reports that while the contract for the game hasn’t been officially signed yet, the game is considered a formality.