Can you picture rooting for the Seattle SuperSuns? How about the Vegas Golden Suns? Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver reportedly hopes that visions of relocation are unpleasant enough for city councilors in Arizona's largest municipality to flip a key vote in his favor.
Sarver is telling some Phoenix city councilors he'll explore the possibility of moving the Suns to Seattle or Las Vegas if the city votes against spending $150 million on renovating Talking Stick Resort Arena, reports the Arizona Republic's Laurie Roberts.
Under the proposed financing deal, the Suns would put another $80 million toward the arena's renovations and would make additional smaller, annual contributions to a fund for future renovations. The team would also build a new practice facility in Phoenix and would commit to staying in the city through at least 2037 with an option to extend through 2042, according to the Arizona Republic's Jessica Boehm.
Council is expected to delay today's vote, initially slated for 2:30 p.m. local time, until Jan. 23 in order to hold a pair of public hearings on the renovation deal, city sources told Boehm.
The proposal initially appeared to have enough council support to pass, but public backlash against the plan increased after details were released Dec. 6, according to Roberts. The deal reportedly wouldn't be approved if the vote went ahead as previously scheduled.
After four decades in Washington, the Seattle SuperSonics left to become the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008. Seattle remains one of the biggest U.S. markets not currently served by an NBA team.
As tensions surrounding the intersection of gambling and sport have dissipated in recent years, Las Vegas' standing as a potential hub for professional sports has grown. The National Hockey League's Vegas Golden Knights came to the city as an expansion franchise in 2017, advancing to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season, and the San Antonio Stars of the Women's National Basketball Association relocated to become the Las Vegas Aces earlier in 2018. The city's also hosted the NBA's increasingly popular Las Vegas Summer League since 2004.