Concerns about the future of the Bucks in Milwaukee, pending TV negotiations, and dilution of on-court talent have prompted commissioner Adam Silver to tell Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com that the league has no plan in place to put an expansion team in Seattle. Silver lauded Seattle as a “wonderful” market and says that it would be beneficial to the league to have a team there, but he’s maintains that the league is nonetheless holding off on any expansion.
“I and the owners will look at not only dilution of economic opportunities with one more partner to divide national and international money but also dilution of talent,” Silver said. “Right now are already making comments about the (Eastern Conference), so is the ideal time to be adding another 15 or 30 players to the league? Ultimately I’m responsible for the financial and competitive health of a 30-team league and while we made tremendous strides in the last collective bargaining agreement, we’re still not there yet. We don’t have 30 profitable teams in the NBA and while we’ve made progress, there are still teams that aren’t competitive enough.”
It’s unlikely Silver and the league will seriously consider expansion to any city until the situation in Milwaukee is resolved, Windhorst writes. City leaders have been reluctant to fund maintenance to the Bucks’ existing arena, and it could be an uphill battle for the Bucks to secure public money for a new building. The team’s lease at the Bradley Center expires in 2017.
The willingness of a Seattle investment group fronted by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer to pony up $800MM in their pursuit of the Kings has Mavs owner Mark Cuban eager to infuse their money into the league. Still, the NBA is set to begin negotiations on a new national TV deal, and until it’s known just how much networks are willing to pay for broadcast rights, teams will likely be unwilling to let a new team in on a share of that revenue, Windhorst explains.