One person supporting the idea of expansion? Newly minted NBPA executive director Tamika Tremaglio, as she said speaking with the Sports Business Journal.
“We do want more teams, I think it’s good for the business,’’ Tremaglio said during her opening keynote conversation with SBJ executive editor Abraham Madkour. “Ideally, we hope that there will be more teams popping up in the U.S.’’
It’s not a surprise the players’ union would back expansion — that’s more jobs and more union members. It’s also a way some believe the league can grow the revenue pie, and more money coming in means a higher salary cap and more money for players (and union members).
“The most important considerations for us when we look at expansion is, will it ultimately grow the pie?” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said last year. “Meaning it’s potentially 30 more [player] jobs if you expand with two teams. You expand the league’s footprint. How does that help us in varying ways, sort of increased support nationally. So we’ll continue to look at it. I mean, I’ve said this many times before. We’re certainly not suggesting we’re locked at 30 teams.”
NBA owners are expected to take up the topic again this summer (although that is not a certainty). The question is how much support there is for expansion among team owners, because it takes a 2/3 vote of them to expand (Seattle for sure and likely Las Vegas would be the homes for new teams). Where there was momentum behind the expansion idea during the pandemic — when owners were losing money because there were no fans in arenas — league sources speaking to NBC Sports have said that some owners have cooled on the idea now. They don’t want to divide the existing pie further.
Expect expansion to come up again this offseason. We now know where the union stands.