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Adam Silver Discusses Potential NBA Expansion



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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had a different take on the topic of expansion, and now says that the league has looked at expanding the league beyond the current 30 team setup.

“I think I’ve always said that it’s sort of the manifest destiny of the league that you expand at some point,” Silver said, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “I’d say it’s caused us to maybe dust off some of the analyses on the economic and competitive impacts of expansion. We’ve been putting a little bit more time into it than we were pre-pandemic. But certainly not to the point that expansion is on the front burner.”

Silver’s comments represent a slight change in the league’s stance on expansion in recent years, and now it seems that, at the very least, the NBA is considering it, despite needing to open up lines of credit during the coronavirus pandemic to give its current teams economic relief.

“You know, we’re very appreciative of the markets that have indicated an interest in having an NBA team,” Silver said. “One of the issues for the league office, and this comes up all the time in terms of competitiveness, it’s not a secret that we don’t have 30 competitive teams at any given time right now when you go into the season, measured by likelihood of ability to win a championship.

“One of our focuses as the league office is always on how do you create better competition. So that’s one of the things that we continue to think about as we consider expansion. … It’s an economic issue and it’s a competitive issue for us. So it’s one that we’ll continue to study, but we’re spending a little bit more time on it than we were pre-pandemic.”

The last time that the NBA added a new team was back in 2002 when it expanded to 30 teams with the addition of the Charlotte Bobcats (who are now the Charlotte Hornets), who began play two years later in 2004.

With talks of expansion it would seem that the city of Seattle would be first in line. Seattle has been trying to bring back their beloved SuperSonics franchise, which moved to Oklahoma City to become the Thunder in 2008.

“There’s always been this notion that this league is bigger than one team, one player, one league office,” Silver said. “I think it’s why we’ve been so successful over the years, because we really do come together and work through in some cases very difficult issues.

“I recognize that this is a very emotional issue on both sides of the equation in America right now, and I think it calls for real engagement rather than simply rule enforcement.”


Anthony DiMoro is the creator of Sports Rants and the CEO of Elite Rank Media. He is a former Contributor for Forbes and the Huffington Post where he covered sports, social media, and SEO. Anthony formerly hosted the 'Forbes SportsMoney Podcast'.