Sonics basketball staff doesn't expect team sale to affect season

Thursday, July 20th 2006, 6:14 am
By: News On 6

SEATTLE (AP) -- Staff members of the Seattle SuperSonics say the NBA team's sale to a group of Oklahoma City businessmen led by Clay Bennett shouldn't affect the team's upcoming season.

Sonics general manager Rick Sund says he sees no changes in the team's daily basketball operations for the short term. That includes contract negotiations, the main one being the team's stalled talks with restricted free-agent Chris Wilcox on a multiyear deal.

Sund has two years remaining on a contract extension he signed before last season. As for coach Bob Hill, in April the Sonics exercised their option on the coach's contract for next season.

Bennett says Wally Walker will stay in his team president's job at least through the coming season.

That coincides with Bennett's 12-month deadline to get a new arena in the Seattle area before he would consider a contractual option to move the team to Oklahoma.

There's also the matter of trying to sell tickets for what many in Seattle already see as a lame-duck season that begins in November.

Walker says that's a concern and that this is a critical year in the franchise's history.