I've thought this for a few years, before Chris Hansen appeared, that relocation of an existing team was the most likely path to the NBA returning to the Seattle market.
Is it better for the owners to split off a portion of ongoing revenues for one time cash? Sure, but split 30 ways it dilutes quickly, and does nothing for the overall health of the league.
Or, is it better that a franchise that cannot keep up with inflating value and costs of an NBA team be allowed to turn a profit from sale, and relocate that team to a viable market.
I think some owner will not be denied a half billion dollar profit that may only be possible if the team relocates to Seattle.
This is a business.
http://www.nba.com/article/2017/07/31/morning-tip-future-of-sonics-seattle-nba-expansion/Seattle still has solid shot at NBA return, but don't expect it to happen anytime soon - NBA.com
Watch those franchise values.
[edited below, text below added 8/4/2017]
I've read most little bits of information that might be, could be, may be, something for way too long, but this is unusually thorough, posted on NBA.com, and anonimous source owners. That's a bit different.
They lay out their path to making a decision for Seattle or not, and in what order.
The question is, how long do those two paths take?
But I take it that they are on that path now, or why bother talking? Maybe we get a relocated team, or an expansion team, or nothing, in that order.