P.J. Carlesimo, the last coach the SuperSonics had before moving to Oklahoma City, is confident that the NBA will return to Seattle soon, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Carlesimo still lives in Seattle, which is considered among the favorites to land a team in the next round of NBA expansion. However, the league doesn’t have any immediate plans to expand, and it’s not expected to happen until after the next television package is in place.
“I have no inside info, but I’m very, very confident. Have been for a long time, but more so now than ever that we will get a team,” Carlesimo said. “I think there’s a very good chance and a better chance that it’s expansion than (a team) moving. Either way we’re going to be on top of the list. The building, now called Climate Pledge (Arena), is ready to go.”
It’s been 15 years since the Sonics left town, but Carlesimo said they’re still a prominent topic of conversation among city residents. He believes the new team will have a solid fan base waiting whenever it returns.
“I just think for so many years it was a great franchise,” he said. “A week doesn’t go by during the year that I don’t see somebody and they say, ‘I can’t believe we’re not in Seattle anymore.’ I think yeah, we’re going to get a team. It’s going to be sooner rather than later, but who knows the timetable?”
There’s more from around the basketball world:
- Appearing on FIBA’s Talk Show, Pau Gasol said Germany’s success in the World Cup is the result of a long commitment to its basketball program, per Cesare Milanti of Eurohoops. Gasol cites the contributions of Dirk Nowitzki in making the nation relevant in basketball circles and says Germany has shown over the past six years that it can compete with anyone. “They’re taking steps forward with the same guys,” Gasol added. “It’s a process, it’s all about making steps in terms of growth.”
- Former NBA guard Jordan Bone has left Vanoli Cremona before playing a game with the Italian Lega Basket Serie A club, according to Sportando. A second-round draft pick in 2019, Bone had brief stays with the Pistons and Magic. He spent last season in the G League before signing with Vanoli Cremona in July.
- NBA pioneer Stanley “Whitey” Von Nieda died Wednesday, The Associated Press reports. He had been the oldest living former player at age 101, having spent time with the Tri-Cities Blackhawks and Baltimore Bullets during the 1949-50 season.