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With the start of their 40th anniversary season on the horizon, the Sonics can't be blamed of being overly sentimental as they pursue several free agents.

Among the handful of hopefuls who have auditioned or requested a tryout with the team, former Rainier Beach High standout Doug Christie at one point appeared to be the front-runner after winning the support of several players.

"He's been working out with us lately and it's like he's already a part of the team," forward Rashard Lewis said. "He could fit because he's a smart player and he's got the experience of being in the playoffs and going to the [Western Conference] finals."

Despite Christie's popularity, a team source confirmed Monday that Christie will not return to the team that drafted him 17th overall in 1992.

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