Will an NBA team call Seattle home within the next five years? “I sure hope so. If there’s one thing that I could wish for our league structurally, I think it would be to get a team back to Seattle,” Warriors president Rick Welts told NBC Sports’ Tom Haberstroh on the “Habershow” podcast. “It’s obviously a really personal issue for me. I know what that team meant to that city — bringing the first professional championship to Seattle. It’s an amazing market. A lot of the future of the world is being envisioned there. It’s got a vibrant community that would really support an NBA team coming back.”
He, more than anybody, knows the NBA belongs in Seattle. “But the path is problematic,” he said. “The good news is the NBA’s business is really successful right now, and that means we have 30 teams operating without anyone feeling like they’re in a market where they can’t support NBA basketball. And the owners — I would say probably to their credit — have shown no interest. And the league hasn’t really promoted any expansion agenda. So how do you get a team there?”
Rick Welts: “I don’t think I’m going out on a limb to make the prediction that the next team — the next new market in the NBA — will be Seattle. But the path on how we get there is pretty murky right now.”
Mexico City, Las Vegas and, of course, Seattle have all been mentioned regularly in recent years as potential destinations for expansion — or franchise relocation should any current team move. Vancouver, Louisville and Kansas City are three more cities vying for consideration. I can’t put them all in a firm order beyond listing Seattle at No. 1
SuperSonics legend Jack Sikma, a driving force behind the franchise’s only NBA title 40 years ago, pleaded with the league to bring back pro basketball to Seattle for the first time since 2008 during his Hall of Fame induction speech Friday night.
“To all the diehard Sonic fans who proudly sport the green and gold … there’s a hole in Seattle that needs to be filled,” Sikma said at Symphony Hall, less than a mile from the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, into which Sikma became the 10th member of the Sonics to be enshrined. “Speaking for all Sonics fans, it’s our great hope that the NBA will soon find a pathway to bring a franchise back to Seattle. It’s time.”