Silver: Expansion Discussion ‘Inevitable,’ Seattle On Short List

Asked in recent years about the possibility of expanding the NBA beyond 30 teams, commissioner Adam Silver has suggested such a move isn’t being actively discussed, and isn’t necessarily on the horizon. However, in a conversation with Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum for The Players’ Tribune (video link), Silver acknowledged that the league isn’t overlooking the possibility of expansion.

“I think it’s just a question of when the right time is to seriously start thinking about expansion,” Silver said. “I don’t want to put a precise timeline on it, but it’s inevitable at some point we’ll start looking at growth of franchises. That’s always been the case in this league.”

While Silver stops short of saying expansion itself is inevitable, his comments hint that he believes it will happen at some point. McCollum, who plays his games in the Pacific Northwest, asked Silver specifically about the possibility of Seattle getting a franchise again, and the commissioner confirmed that the former home of the SuperSonics will “no doubt be on a short list of cities we’ll look at.”

The NBA has featured 30 clubs since the Charlotte Bobcats entered the league in 2004, and Seattle has been without a team since the Sonics became the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008. Within the last decade, investors – including Chris Hansen – have made an effort to bring a franchise back to Seattle with a new arena or with renovations to KeyArena, but the league has not introduced any new teams via expansion or relocation during that time.

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