Seattle SuperSonics Rumors
Larry Coon: I think it’s pretty inevitable that there’s going to be expansion at some point, and we could see a 32-team league. There are certainly cities like Seattle ready to host an NBA franchise again. I was thinking expansion might’ve even been on the table this past year because of Covid. If you collected a couple of expansion fees, you put a lot of money into the league in a year when revenues were so far down… Eventually, you’re increasing the revenue that comes in with ticket sales, local cable revenue, everything around the game… The flipside of that coin is that you’re now splitting the profits more ways and your revenue sharing differently.
The trio of players making the unprecedented jump from the NBA Finals to the Olympics are all scheduled to be in Japan by Saturday. The hope is for Devin Booker, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday to be available when Team USA opens play Sunday against France, according to coach Gregg Popovich. After attending the Milwaukee Bucks’ championship parade Thursday, Middleton and Holiday are scheduled to fly to Seattle on Friday. There, they will join Booker, whose Phoenix Suns they helped eliminate on Tuesday, and take a private plane to Tokyo.
But with an expected tough test against the French, Popovich is planning on using his reinforcements immediately, even if he’s not sure how it will play out. “I have no idea [how to use them]. I’m not trying to be glib. I’m trying to be transparent,” Popovich said. “Maybe they’ll be OK for the game [Sunday] and it’ll hit them two days later. Maybe we should play them in the first half and see what they’re like.”
First organized in 1995 by Doug Christie, the Rainier Beach High alum and 15-year NBA veteran, the Crawsover was handed over to Crawford in 2004. Since then, the Pro-Am has become one of the most popular summer leagues in the country. NBA superstars like Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and Kyrie Irving have all flocked to Seattle to play in past iterations of the event. Professionals aren’t the only ones who play in the Pro-Am though. Young Seattle basketball players are given the chance to train and play with seasoned NBA vets. Local talents like Dejounte Murray, Kevin Porter Jr., Michael Porter Jr., Matisse Thybulle, Jalen and Jaden McDaniels, and Paolo Banchero, the Duke commit who is ranked as 247.com’s No. 2 prospect in the country, have all played at the Crawsover as high schoolers.
After two seasons in that role, Khoury expressed his growing interest in the connection between coaching and the analytics department to Ujiri, GM Jeff Weltman and then-assistant GM Bobby Webster. A week later, head coach Dwane Casey invited Khoury to the coaching staff’s retreat in Seattle. “I was the one who said, ‘Hey, let’s bring him on staff, bring him in the meetings,” said Casey, who laughed about having referred to Khoury’s background as “water science” when he got to Detroit. “I got off to a shaky start with analytics, because I was from the old school, but when Eric came in, his presentation, his approach made it easy to swallow as far as analytics was concerned. He was the first one to really convince me, ‘Hey, let’s shoot the 3, let’s play up-tempo.’ He did such a great job, really cut his teeth. …I would love to have stolen him and brought him here (to Detroit) with me because he just does everything with a pure heart. There’s no ego, and he just knows his stuff.”
It’s widely believed the NBA will expand for the first time since rounding out to 30 teams in 2004 partly to recoup losses from the pandemic. Returning to Seattle as part of the process is almost a given (with Las Vegas as the other likely city) now that the arena issues that led to the Supersonics leaving for Oklahoma City in 2008 have been resolved. “If there is expansion, he’s definitely going to get his opportunities,” said one league insider.
Payton agreed, saying that Grgurich would de-escalate situations and talk him down when he clashed with Karl. “He did the same thing with me, Kenyon, because I used to want to kill George’s a– every other f—— day,” Payton said. “I wanted to beat his head in, you know what I’m saying? But it was Grgurich who [talked me down]. You got to understand, Grgurich came from [coaching] guys like that at UNLV, so he knew how to get with us. He always went and recruited guys like ourselves, coming from neighborhoods [like we grew up in], where he knew we just needed to be let loose. Don’t put all that boundaries on us. Man, let us get loose, let us do what we got to do! And that’s why we all love him to death because he knew what we needed. I get it because some nights on them teams, you’re gonna to want to kill somebody, you’re gonna want to kill somebody.” Grgurich, 78, is currently the Director of Player Development with the Detroit Pistons, and he’s extremely respected around the NBA.