For the past decade, nearly every time NBA Commissioner Adam Silver did a press conference — All-Star Game, Finals, etc. — he would get asked about expansion. And, every time, he used some polite language to say, “we’re not even thinking about it.”
Until right before the start of this season. The coronavirus pandemic’s financial toll on teams has opened the door to expansion because it could bring an influx of cash to the owners to help cover losses.
Just don’t expect things to move fast. From David Aldridge at The Athletic.
“I would agree that there is discussion but no decision,” one governor said this week, a sentiment echoed by another.
Another high-ranking team executive said it was unlikely any serious consideration of expansion would happen at least before the end of the 2021-22 season.
The NBA isn’t going to race into a quick fix. That is not how Adam Silver handles anything.
If/When expansion happens, Seattle remains at the front of the line. It has an arena being built for a new NHL team — the Kracken, which is a great name — and the NBA could plug a returned Sonics team right into that building. The NBA wants to right a wrong and get back into a large market with a built-in fan base; Seattle is a given if expansion happens.
If there is a second team — and while likely, it’s an “if” — that door is more wide open. Las Vegas gets mentioned, in part because of the success of the NHL’s Golden Knights there, but other cities will be in the mix as well if a billionaire steps up and is willing to pay the fees.
Just don’t expect any new NBA teams until the middle of this decade. At the earliest.