Community Shootaround: Expansion

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.

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26 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: Expansion

  1. Jerseys don't have sleeves

    Seattle is obviously the city that’s most deserving and if Silver doesn’t make that happen it will be the biggest stain on his regime.

    Other deserving cities, if the NBA goes 32+, are Louisville, Vancouver BC (the city and Canadian economy have skyrocketed since the Grizzlies left), Pittsburgh, and Virginia Beach.

    • Dana Gauruder

      If the NBA rewards franchises to cities previously spurned, Vancouver should get as much consideration at Seattle. Good point on Pittsburgh and Virginia Beach being worthy of consideration along with other cities mentioned in the Shootaround.

    • KC yes. Tampa Bay,Anaheim,San Jose and so on NHL city to that doesn’t have a NBA Team yet.

      • Dana Gauruder

        KC is another place that the NBA spurned, albeit over 30 years ago. Definitely deserve consideration.

      • Too many Florida and Los Angeles based teams with established fan bases. I could see an argument maybe being made for Tampa, but no way another team gets thrown into LA…you already have the Clips, Lakers, Warriors, and Kings.

        • Warriors and kings aren’t in LA, but I’m sure you know that and didn’t mean it that way. Northern Cali and southern Cali are so far apart, and San Jose is a huge city, I think they could handle their own franchise too so they wouldn’t have to d-ride the Warriors. In fact, why don’t we just move the Warriors to San Francisco like they plan and then get another team in Oakland. It’s not like any of the fans who actually live in Oakland get to go the games anyway. All them rich folk from across the bridge flood Oakland 41 nights a year while the real residents serve them drinks and hot dogs. If any team should be relocated, it’s the clippers to Seattle. Let’s get this done before Crawford retires.

  2. mikey

    Bringing the supersonics back to Seattle is key. Then after that is debatable. Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Baltimore are all possibilities.

    • Dana Gauruder

      It would be interesting to see how much Seattle would invest to bring the NBA back there.

  3. Seattle should be number one. Tampa Bay, Las Vegas, or a wild card and have a team in Mexico city

      • It would be a good way to expand globally while not having a franchise move across the pond to Europe. Plus they are a huge city that could easily support an nba team. It’s a wild card idea that may never come true


    I agree Seattle first, Vegas, Louisville, Nashville would all be good. Keep revenue in the US.

    • Chris Crouse

      Seattle and Vegas are my top choices. I think the NBA could expand to 31 teams. There’s enough talent to go around.

    • Arthur Hill

      Seattle never deserved to lose the Sonics in the first place. It’s a mistake the NBA needs to correct as quickly as possible.
      The players would love road trips to Las Vegas, and every free agent would want to go there. It would become the most popular city in the league.
      No to Pittsburgh. I grew up near there and it would be a terrible NBA town.

  5. Benny

    Actually, very few of the cities you list are strong candidates for a simple reason: No viable arena. Seattle has a plan with Chris Hansen, but he didn’t do himself any favors with the NBA during his Kings’ pursuit. Kansas City has the arena, but no owner. Cincinnati, Baltimore and San Diego don’t have NBA-ready arenas. St. Louis’ Scottrade Center is 20+ years old and there’s another issue — Can the NBA team compete with a long-established NHL fanbase? Or are the cities large enough to support both winter sports? Are there enough corporate dollars? Would the leases in NHL arenas be NBA-tenant-friendly? Nashville, Buffalo, Pittsburgh… same problem. San Jose has the NBA champions “up the street” and would be the third NorCal NBA team. Anaheim got a serious look because the L.A. area is so large and is an NBA town if there ever was one. But now the NFL is back to compete for those dollars. Being third to the market in the NBA and second in the arena wouldn’t make much sense. Vancouver is intriguing because it’s not clear if the Grizzlies got a true chance to succeed there, but simply having NBA or ABA franchises previously is not enough. No one thinks a return of the Atlanta Hawks to the Quad Cities is viable. Many of the cities you list have the same odds.

    • Dana Gauruder

      Agreed that many of those cities would need a billionaire who wants an NBA franchise and a viable plan for a new arena before they’d be seriously considered. First, the league would have to show more interest in adding a couple more teams.

    • Patrick

      Chris Hansen: (1) agreed to purchase the Kings at a (then) over-market valuation; (2) voluntarily increased the offer by $100M; (3) was wholly upfront and forthcoming about his plans to move them (unlike the OKC owners with the previous Seattle franchise); (4) invested millions into buying land, hiring a wide range of consultants, and developing one of the best arena deals ever pitched to a city (from a financial perspective); and (5) put together what would’ve been by far the richest ownership group in the NBA. David Stern then, in an unprecedented move (based on the strength and commitment of the potential ownership group, as well as the bottom-line numbers based on the SAC/SEA market sizes), bent over backwards to keep the Kings in Sacramento. Hansen was decidated, committed, and very respectful throughout the entire process…how did he “not do himself any favors with the NBA?”

      • Benny

        A little late with my answer, but this window was still up on my iPad, so…

        I believe Hansen went behind the NBA’s back to try to derail the Sacramento arena plans, funding the “local” effort against it. I suppose you can’t fault him for that from a business perspective, but if you are secretly working against the will of the NBA in a battle you already lost, you’re going to have a hard time getting the opportunity to partner with them later in expansion and ultimately lose the war… which is getting the NBA in Seattle. Someone else might have to do it. Too bad. I liked his plan and the Sonics got robbed…

    • Twill

      Louisville has an ideal arena and is basketball crazy. Always has highest TV ratings for NCAA tournament. Combining the UK and UofL fanbases into one product is a slam dunk.

  6. celtics80

    Seattle obviously but they need one in Baltimore or Buffalo. I can see them going international too.

    • BSPORT

      Buffalo is a half hour from Toronto, close to Cleveland and Indiana. Baltimore maybe but Vegas is a home run and will have no problem getting them to build an arena. Seattle first still but think something in Louisville KY, St. Louis or Nashville would spread country better. St. Louis is baseball town so less confidence in that working as football did not do so well.

  7. smittybanton

    Ill bet the owners ultimately want to create different levels, similar to baseball and its minor league system. It will take many years, but they will not/should not be satisfied until every community > 100,000 has a squad on some level feeding into the system. They’re leaving tons of dough on the table. AAA: Seattle, Vancouver, San Jose, Las Vegas, Santa Fe, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Richmond, Jacksonville, Columbus/Cincinnati, Iowa, St. Louis, Kansas City, S. Alabama, Charleston SC,

  8. Rochester. Let’s get New York a team for the rest of the state. Not all New Yorkers wish to be represented by some NYC team. Rochester could sustain a team on its own but I’m sure it will get a fan base from Buffallo, Syracuse, Watertown, Utica, etc. along with all the New Yorkers who have given up on the Knicks but still can’t morally root for the Nets.

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