Expansion seems to be the preferred option for Hansen's group, which lost its bid last month to acquire the Sacramento Kings and relocate them to Seattle. There appears to be a "working plan" to bring the NBA back to Seattle, according to Tim Montemayor of KGO Radio in San Francisco.
"Several NBA sources in the know tell me there have been productive talks on expansion in Seattle," Montemayor wrote Wednesday on Twitter. "As the league preps for a new TV deal they have discussed a timetable but have not settled the issue.
"I am also told the H&B (Hansen and Ballmer) group are aware of a working plan to return the NBA to Seattle," he continued, "and were told as much and acknowledged their preference to have a new franchise at the end of the NBA Kings saga."
Hansen recently told Seattle's KJR radio that the process would resume after the NBA Finals, which are currently in progress. Yet it now seems that negotiations may have already started.
Or perhaps talks never ceased. After all, reports indicated that even before the NBA's Board of Governors rejected Hansen's Kings acquisition on May 15, Hansen was already talking to the league about the possibility of expansion.
"It was again made clear to me today that Chris Hansen did an about-face in attitude and tone late in the NBA Kings fight and that is the only reason expansion would be 'likely and viable' in Seattle," Montemayor tweeted, citing an anonymous source.
"It is believed Hansen is one of the few or the only one who can overcome the hurdles put forward in Seattle," Montemayor continued, adding that his source told him, "'The passion that had (Hansen) fighting so hard will be counted on to complete the process' in Seattle."