NBA Commission Adam Silver tried again on Thursday to squash that talk.
Asked directly about expansion after the 2024 season before Game 1 of the Finals, Silver was clear.
“That talk is not true,” Silver said. “At least maybe there are people talking who are not at the league office about us potentially expanding after the 2024 season. We are not discussing that at this time.
“As I said before, at some point, this league invariably will expand, but it’s not at this moment that we are discussing it.”
When NBA arenas were empty during the height of the pandemic — and NBA owners were losing money — expansion talk picked up real momentum. With expansion fees at $2.5 billion per team (or higher), expansion of two teams would mean a check of at least $166 million per team, which had appeal at the time.
However, that momentum appears to have slowed. Silver doesn’t make the final call on expansion, it requires a two-thirds vote of the NBA owners, who could take the topic up again this summer. Howver, with fans back in arenas and money flowing again, sources have told NBC Sports enough owners don’t want to further divide the revenue pie that the votes for expansion may not be there.
Silver did go on to praise Seattle and Las Vegas as potential future homes of NBA teams.
“Those are wonderful markets,” Silver said. “Again, as I’ve said before, we were in Seattle. I’m sorry we are no longer there. We have a WNBA team in Seattle in an almost brand-new building that’s doing spectacular. And Las Vegas, where we will be at our Summer League in July, has shown itself to be a great sports market as well.”
Just don’t expect the NBA to have teams in those cities in a couple of years.