Gary Payton, a former NBA player, appeared in a published Youtube video from August 13th (account: Fanatics View Originals). In the video he could be seen fielding questions and one reporter, identified as from, asked Payton about the prospects of Seattle getting another NBA team. Payton's answer reflected on the difficulties with getting a team back, mainly because of the need for an arena.

Seattle would need a place to play

The city of Seattle used to have a team known as the Seattle SuperSonics. However, they relocated to Oklahoma City in the latter part of the last decade to become the OKC Thunder.

Payton, in answering about getting a team back, claimed to "know about everything that's going on" with the situation. He said that getting a new team into Seattle is "not that easy" and specifically mentioned arena issues on multiple occasions.

"We can't put a team in (Seattle) without an arena," Payton said as part of his lengthy answer. The former NBA point guard was a member of the Seattle SuperSonics for the majority of his career. He played there from 1990 to 2003 and was a part of the 1996 team that made the NBA Finals. He has firm roots in the Pacific Northwest as he played college basketball with Oregon State.

Mixed results when sports return to a city

Returning a sports team to a location where a team had already been moved from could be a tricky situation, one that would have to affect the confidence of investors.

Looking at hockey, teams have returned to cities a couple of times in the last 20 years in the NHL. The city of Atlanta, for example, rejoined the NHL in 1999 after failing with a franchise known as the Atlanta Flames from earlier decades. The Flames were based in Atlanta from 1972 to 1980 and they would eventually become the Calgary Flames.

The Atlanta Thrashers, the second NHL team based in Atlanta, failed in Georgia and they are now the modern-day Winnipeg Jets.

The current Jets' franchise is another example of a second attempt in an NHL city. Part-one of the Winnipeg Jets became the Phoenix Coyotes in the 1990s, now known as the Arizona Coyotes. The Thrashers were not a success in Atlanta as the city lost its second NHL team.

Thus far the Winnipeg Jets (part 2) are popular enough in their new home, but it has only been six years.

Did the Grizzlies take some fans from Seattle?

The situation in Seattle may be different because it's NBA basketball and not NHL hockey. However, it is interesting that the two franchises to permanently change locations in the NBA this century were both from the same region. The Vancouver Grizzlies and the Seattle Supersonics were both based in the same geographical area. The Grizzlies are now in Memphis after what was a short-lived tenure in the NBA. You have to wonder if the two franchises split the basketball market up in the Pacific Northwest and the lower mainland of British Columbia.

On that matter the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL do have a fan base in the Canadian city of Vancouver, mainly because there are no NFL teams in Canada. A new Seattle-based NBA team would likely have Canadian fans in British Columbia, especially since the Grizzlies are gone. But the barrier, according to Payton's remarks, seems be more about an arena than consumer demand at this point.