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Why NBA should bring Seattle Sonics back after dismal All-Star weekend

Feb 19, 2024, 2:46 PM | Updated: 2:53 pm

NBA Seattle Sonics All-Star Game Paolo Banchero...

Seattle native Paolo Banchero plays in the 2024 NBA All-Star Game. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

(Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

I bet you had a better President’s Day weekend than NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

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After spending the past year pleading with his stars to play hard in the All-Star Game, Silver and NBA fans were treated to an embarrassing display of basketball Sunday night in Indianapolis. The Eastern Conference posted a 211-186 victory over the Western Conference in a matchup that had less intensity than a YMCA pickup game.

Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic spent the night playing pranks. Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Anthony Edwards said he viewed the game as a “break” and admitted he wasn’t going to be “super competitive.”

Even Silver, who has spent his tenure as commissioner tirelessly advocating for players, could not hide his disgust.

“And to the Eastern Conference All-Stars, you scored the most points,” he said during the postgame ceremony. “Well … congratulations.”

Here’s an idea, Adam. Want to draw attention away from the worst All-Star weekend in recent memory?

Announce the Seattle Sonics are coming back to the NBA.

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No more hinting about future expansion. No more dragging your feet. No more platitudes.

Sure, it won’t make your All-Star weekend much better. But it will change the narrative that your league continues to decline while the NFL dominates the calendar. Expansion is a sign that your league is growing, not vice versa.

Just a reminder: Seattle has a remodeled arena that’s NBA-ready. The fanbase that supported the SuperSonics for more than 40 years is still here. There are potential owners waiting to foot a rumored $5 billion expansion fee. Seattle-Tacoma is the 13th largest media market in the country. What are you waiting for?

In an interview on TNT before Sunday night’s debacle, Silver said “it’s very likely the NBA will expand,” but the timetable remains unclear. The NBA’s current nine-year, $24 billion television deal expires at the end of the 2024-25 season. Silver said he wants a new television deal finalized before expanding.

Last week on the Pat McAfee Show, Silver went into detail about why Las Vegas is a great expansion candidate. He also told NBA.com that Mexico City is a possible expansion destination, but not during the next round of expansion.

Silver had previously said that there wasn’t enough talent to add a pair of expansion teams. But he claimed that’s no longer a concern Sunday during his interview with TNT.

“One of the reasons we hadn’t expanded earlier was because even though the best players in the world come to this league, I think we were concerned about the dilution of talent,” Silver said. “But look at the amount of talent in the league now. Look how many great teams we have with great players … There are great cities out there that want teams and I think there’s enough great players in the world that we could field two more teams.”

NBA fans in Seattle have waited 16 years since Clay Bennett stole the Sonics and bolted to Oklahoma City. They had to watch hedge fund billionaire Chris Hansen agree in principle to buy the Sacramento Kings, only to see the sale thwarted by ex-NBA commissioner David Stern.

Now they have to watch the Thunder evolve into one of the most exciting teams in the NBA, with a talented young roster and a seemingly endless number of high draft picks.

Meanwhile, Seattle remains a basketball hotbed. Former Los Angeles Clippers shooting guard Jamal Crawford packs local gyms every summer with his pro-am league. Magic power forward Paolo Banchero, a Seattle native, just made his first NBA All-Star Game. Fans pack Climate Pledge Arena every fall when it hosts a preseason game dubbed the Rain City Showcase.

Let’s end this charade. Want to earn back some goodwill after your All-Star debacle? Announce the SuperSonics are coming back.

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