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NBA commissioner Adam Silver hints at three new cities for expansion teams. Where are they?




At present, the NBA consists of 30 teams of which the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks appear to be the best given that they’re currently contesting the NBA Finals. That number could soon increase, however, if we take the league’s commissioner at his word.

Adam Silver hints at expansion teams to come

On Sunday night, NBA commissioner Adam Silver joined NBC Sports Boston’s Celtics Pregame Live at TD Garden in Boston. Now, while Silver touched on several topics, it’s likely that one of the most interesting for fans was the topic of expansion. Indeed, the commissioner confirmed that the league is currently exploring the possibility of expanding from the 30 teams that it presently has, that is of course assuming it can finalize the new media rights deal.

“We have to understand what our long-term media relationships are before we look to expansion. We’re in the process of wrapping up those deals now,” Silver said. “They’re going to be long-term deals. I’m hoping, we’re not done yet, but they’ll be successful in terms of generating more money for the league and the teams and then we’ll be in a position to look at expansion.” To be clear, the league’s current deal expires after the 2024-25 season, something Silver touched on by disclosing he hopes to finalize new long-term contracts in the “relative near term.” As for what else we know, the Wall Street Journal has reported that the NBA is “closing in” on deals with NBC, ESPN, and Amazon that will total approximately $76 billion over the next 11 years.

Yet, it should be said that expansion is not a given even if it would be an organic progression when considering the kind of money mentioned above. Even more so when considering the fact that both the NFL and NHL consist of 32 teams. “It’s not preordained that we’ll expand,” Silver said. “I’ve said it before, you’ve got to look at the dilution, potentially, of talent, but there’s so much great basketball being played around the world. I don’t think there’s any doubt that over time, this league can sustain two more teams. And there’s interest in the market, so once we finish our media deals, we’ll turn our attention to that.”

This of course begs the question as to where will these teams be located and that’s where Silver got specific. “There’s been some discussion about going back to Seattle, potentially,” Silver confirmed. “Las Vegas, no doubt, is very interested in a team. Mexico City one day. But there’s lots of other U.S. cities and Canadian cities, frankly, that have reached out to us to tell us they’d be interested.” Where Seattle and Las Vegas are concerned, there should be no surprise as both have been long rumored to be targets for expansion teams. Mexico City on the other hand would be an interesting prospect and in keeping with the league’s desire to add another international team alongside the Toronto Raptors. Do recall that the NBA has played one regular season Game in Mexico City in every season since 2016-17 - excluding 2021-22 due to the covid-19 pandemic - so, as we always say, watch this space.