The NBA has not seriously looked at expansion in recent years and seems content with its current 30-team setup. The league hasn’t added an expansion team since 2004, when the Charlotte Bobcats were created.
That’s a shame for major cities currently without NBA franchises that have the capability of supporting them.
Commissioner Adam Silver recently addressed the topic and doubted that expansion would be coming any time soon. Current owners feel that adding franchises would detract from their global following.
“The way the owners see expansion at the moment is really the equivalent of selling equity in the [league],” Silver said.
Silver also admitted that not all of the current teams are “must-see experiences” and that additional teams would lead to a watered-down product with the top talent spread thin. However, Silver did not shoot down the possibility of expansion.
“I don’t think the there is any doubt that at some point we will turn back to looking at whether we should grow the league,” he said.
That process could be accelerated during negotiations with the National Basketball Players’ Association, which has every incentive to add more high-paying jobs through expansion.
Seattle, which lost its franchise to Oklahoma City, would certainly get serious consideration if the NBA decided to expand. But plenty of other cities can also make strong cases for inclusion. St. Louis, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Buffalo, San Diego, Louisville, Nashville and Kansas City all seem like viable options, as many of those cities previously had NBA or ABA franchises.
Las Vegas has been clamoring for a major pro sports franchise and the NBA could even take an international view. Regular season games have been played in London with an enthusiastic response. Logistics aside, that would be a bold step for a league that has always taken a worldwide view with its product.
This leads us to our question of the day: If the NBA decides to expand in the near future, which city is most deserving of a franchise?
Please take to the comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions on the subject. We look forward to what you have to say.