Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, the principal investors in the prospective Seattle basketball ownership group, have reportedly started “productive” talks with the NBA for securing an expansion team.

Chris Hansen speaks to media after his group’s presentation to the NBA on April 3, 2013, in New York City. (Richard Drew/AP Photo)
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.