The NBA left Seattle in 2008 and there has been little progress in a return outside of the failed relocation of the Sacramento Kings.
Adam Silver has consistently said expansion is not on the table for the NBA in the short-term, while no teams are currently in danger of a potential relocation.
Golden State Warriors CEO Rick Welts, who is a native of Seattle, was asked whether the NBA might return to the city within the next five years.
"I sure hope so. If there's one thing that I could wish for our league structurally, I think it would be to get a team back to Seattle," Welts told NBC Sports' Tom Haberstroh on the "Habershow" podcast. "It's obviously a really personal issue for me. I know what that team meant to that city -- bringing the first professional championship to Seattle.
"It's an amazing market. A lot of the future of the world is being envisioned there. It's got a vibrant community that would really support an NBA team coming back."
Welts was director of public relations for the Sonics in 1979 when they won the NBA title.
"But the path is problematic," Welts said. "The good news is the NBA's business is really successful right now, and that means we have 30 teams operating without anyone feeling like they're in a market where they can't support NBA basketball.
"And the owners -- I would say probably to their credit -- have shown no interest. And the league hasn't really promoted any expansion agenda. So how do you get a team there? I don't think I'm going out on a limb to make the prediction that the next team -- the next new market in the NBA -- will be Seattle. But the path on how we get there is pretty murky right now."