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Sports

Tim Cone wants to see Kai Sotto in NBA Summer League

John Bryan Ulanday - Philstar.com
Tim Cone wants to see Kai Sotto in NBA Summer League
Kai Sotto

MANILA, Philippines — Tim Cone, who’s set to be part of the Miami Heat coaching staff, is hoping to see Kai Sotto in the NBA Summer League, which he considers as still one of the best possible paths to the NBA.

Bound to the Heat as a deputy of the Malik Allen-mentored Heat squad, Cone said the Summer League could be an avenue for Sotto to impress one more time and earn his stripes after going undrafted in the 2022 NBA Rookie Draft.

“That’s important for him, to get to the Summer League and show he could play with the guys in the league,” said Cone, the Ginebra mentor and the winningest PBA coach, after the Gin Kings’ win in the 2022 Philippine Cup.

“He would want to always be the best of the rest and that gives you vision from the other teams. They see you,” added the celebrated tactician before he departs to the United States next week.

Sotto has yet to announce his next step but his agent, Joel Bell, said invites to play in the Summer League are on the table for the 7-foot-3, 20-year-old wunderkind.

Options to go back to the NBL in Australia, travel to Europe or troop back home to temporarily reinforce Gilas Pilipinas are also in play but for Cone, the immediate move now is the Summer League set on July 7 to 17 in Las Vegas.

In the Summer League or anything closer to the NBA, Cone said it would be easier for Sotto to earn distinction from coaches and scouts rather than playing somewhere far away.

“There are a lot of pathways he can still do. Surely, his team is exploring all of them but I think the next step for him is to get to a Summer League team and get playing time and showcase his skills,” said Cone as the Summer League may open up two-way contracts and G League chances for Sotto.

A firm believer of Sotto’s NBA aspirations ever since, Cone even went on wishing to have Sotto on the Heat’s own Summer League team or with the Sacramento Kings, where another Philippine pride in Jimmy Alapag is serving as an assistant.

“That would be really poetic,” he said, adding that he will personally mention Sotto upon meeting Miami head coach and his good friend Erik Spoelstra.

KAI SOTTO

TIM CONE

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