At this point, no one really knows when the NBA will return to Seattle. We certainly don't know, it doesn't appear that Chris Hansen knows (although he continues to have very high hopes), and one could argue that Adam Silver doesn't even know. So how does the NBA keep us interested in their product?
Well, in the latest episode of The Downstroke podcast, CBS Sport's Matt Moore suggested putting a development league team in the state to tide us over, and that team could later become the affiliate for the Seattle SuperSonics. He did explicitly state that the team should not be placed in Seattle, as that should be reserved for when the league does return. So that got us thinking: where could a team be placed?
If you want to stay within the Puget Sound region, the seemingly most logical place would be Kent. They have the Showare Center, which is currently home to the Seattle Thunderbirds. The Showare Center holds roughly 6,500 for hockey so it would be assumed that it would hold slightly more for basketball.
Another potential location could be Everett, home of the Silvertips hockey team. Their Comcast Arena holds 8,149 for hockey and up to 10,000 for concerts. Comcast Arena has been home to a minor league basketball team before, housing the Everett Explosion of the International Basketball League in 2007.
Hey, what about Tacoma? The Tacoma Dome has a capacity for 17,100 for basketball, which would instantly make it one of the largest arenas in the D-League. The arena hosted the Sonics themselves in the 1994-95 season during KeyArena's renovation.
Then again, there is a whole other side of the state that has been neglected when it comes to professional basketball. What about putting a team in Spokane? It's the second largest city in the state and has the Spokane Arena, which could hold 12,210 for basketball. The home to the former AFL Champions the Spokane Shock also serves as a secondary home for the Gonzaga Bulldogs and Washington State Cougars, holding at least one major match-up per season. The second and third rounds of this year's NCAA tournament were held there as well.
Another potential destination is the Yakima Valley SunDome. This arena was the home to the CBA's Yakima Sun Kings before Isiah Thomas tanked that entire league. It can hold 6,159 for basketball. While that may seem small compared to the others on this list, keep in mind that the D-League's newest team, the Grand Rapids Drive, play in an arena that only holds 4,500.
Speaking of the CBA, the former home of the Tri-City Chinook could be an option as well. The Toyota Center in Kennewick doesn't list its capacity for basketball, but it does hold 6,000 for hockey and as many as 7,715 for concerts. It is the current home of the Tri-City Americans WHL hockey team and the Tri-Cities Fever indoor football team.
There is also the Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee. This arena holds 5,000 for basketball and is the regular home of the NCW High School Basketball Showcase. It is the current home of the Wenatchee Wild hockey team, for which it holds 4,300, as well as the Wenatchee Figure Skating Club and Wenatchee Curling Club.
Once you decide where to put the team, the next question is what to call it. Kevin Nesgoda is in favor of the Wenatchee Wildmen, a takeoff of the local hockey team and a nod to the local Sasquatch that Kevin hopes to one day catch. Paul Rogers, on the other hand, would like to see a return of the Yakima Sun Kings. Dontae Delgado is in favor of putting a team in Kent, but doesn't think any team name sounds good with Kent in front of it. Could they be called the Washington somethings? Or does that get too confusing with the Wizards? The New York Knicks recently revealed their new D-League Affiliate, the Westchester... Knicks. Could a D-League team be called the SuperSonics? Should a D-League team be called the SuperSonics? What about a lesser name like... the SubSonics?
What do you think? Do you agree with Matt Moore that the NBA should give us a Development League team to tide us over? Or do you find that to be demeaning and you'd rather wait for an NBA team? If you're for it, where would you like to see it and what would you like to call it? Let us know in the comments.