The NBA Is Not Expanding Anytime Soon

The league is still fighting COVID-19 and has business issues ahead.

National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver has once again thrown ice-cold water on the possibility of his business adding two more franchises. Silver said there are no expansion talks with anyone at the moment and that expansion talks might happen after the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled. There are two other reasons for not expanding now. The NBA will be undergoing some fiscal changes in the next couple of years as a new media platform-television deal has to be negotiated and then there is the matter of the collective bargaining talks with the players. Those two issues will be taking up a lot of Silver and his staff’s time. Once that is done, there seems to be one market ready to take on an expansion franchise, a business that might cost a local owner at least $2.5 billion. That is Seattle which meets all the requirements that Silver’s predecessor, the late David Stern laid out to be a successful business. A Seattle team would have government support, a good-sized local cable TV deal and Seattle has corporate support for a franchise. Finding a second city might be more difficult as there are flaws in the other markets that seek an NBA franchise.

Silver said earlier this year that money is a factor if his league decides to expand. “The most important considerations for us when we look at expansion is, will it ultimately grow the pie? Meaning, it’s potentially 30 more 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.” The NBA has pressing business that needs to be completed before expanding.

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The Milwaukee Bucks celebrate with the championship trophy after defeating the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of basketball’s NBA Finals in Milwaukee, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. The Bucks won 105-98. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)