Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner, Suggests New Cities for League Growth

Exploring New Frontiers in Professional Basketball.

by Faizan Chaudhary
Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner, Suggests New Cities for League Growth
© Justin Tafoya/GettyImages

In a bold move towards innovation, the NBA is considering further expansion, with Commissioner Adam Silver indicating new franchises might be on the horizon. This potential expansion, which would be the first since the Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets) joined in 2004, aligns with the expiration of the NBA's current media rights agreement after the 2024-25 season.

Sources including Yahoo have hinted at this exciting development. The frontrunners for new teams appear to be Seattle and Las Vegas. Seattle, mourning the loss of the SuperSonics who became the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008, has a rich basketball history and a passionate fan base eager for a team's return.

Las Vegas, a city without an NBA team, has nevertheless been a significant part of the league's landscape. It hosts the annual Summer League and will be the site for the inaugural in-season tournament's semifinals and finals.

The city also hosted a successful NBA All-Star Game in 2007. The successes of NHL franchises in these cities—the Vegas Golden Knights and the Seattle Kraken—along with the WNBA's Las Vegas Aces, underscore the potential for NBA expansion in these markets.

Canadian Expansion Prospects

Internationally, Commissioner Silver has also acknowledged possibilities like Vancouver and Montreal. Vancouver, once home to the Grizzlies before their move to Memphis, and Montreal, a city without an NBA team, have both recently hosted preseason games.

This includes a matchup between the Raptors and Kings in Vancouver, and the Thunder versus Pistons in Montreal, illustrating the NBA's growing influence in Canada. The Toronto Raptors, who clinched an NBA title in 2019, have been pivotal in popularizing the sport in the country, evidenced by Forbes ranking them as the 10th most valuable NBA franchise.

The 2019 NBA Finals witnessed record viewership in Canada, with Game 6 attracting 15.9 million viewers, representing 44% of the Canadian population. The league has also seen a significant rise in Canadian players, with 27 starting the season on NBA rosters.

Another intriguing market is Mexico City, already hosting an NBA G League team and regular-season NBA games since 1997. Although international cities might not be included in the first expansion wave post the new media rights deal, they present compelling options for a league continuously seeking to globalize basketball.