Adam Silver sets timeline for NBA expansion

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addressed reporters on Monday at the 2023 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. During that discussion, he touched on numerous topics including an NBA expansion.

NBA Expansion
(Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

Silver confirmed that the league will begin exploring the idea once the current media rights deal is up in 2025. 

“We will turn to expansion once those new media deals are done,” Silver said. “It’s not a sure thing but, as I’ve said before, I think it’s natural that organizations grow over time.”

An NBA expansion has been a topic for a few years now, but in the past the Commissioner has downplayed the possibility. His tone this time around most certainly is different than what he had stated during the 2022 NBA Finals:

Silver said talk of expansion was “not true,” adding “at some point, this league invariably will expand, but it’s not at this moment that we are discussing it.” 

Though, he noted that that process has not begun yet. He offered a timeline and name-dropped a few cities that might be in the mix for the first go around, including Las Vegas and Seattle.

The existence of professional sports teams in Las Vegas has been a no-go for many years, however, that all changed when the Las Vegas Golden Knights landed there in 2017 as an NHL expansion Franchise. The WNBA’s Aces arrived soon after. Then, the NFL’s Raiders relocated. An MLB team may be on it’s way soon. So, it would only make sense for an NBA team to land in the Entertainment Capital of the World as well.

When talking about NBA expansion, Seattle is the first city that comes to mind. The city served as an NBA market from 1967-2008 until the Sonics were re-routed to Oklahoma City. The fans in the Pacific Northwest want the rival of the Portland Trail Blazers back. One of the key issues for the Sonics’ departure to become the Thunder, was their arena. The building that they used has since been renovated and re-opened as Climate Pledge Arena. It now serves as the home for the NHL expansion Seattle Kraken. So, certainly, a return to the Emerald City would be a success.

The NBA expansion may still be a few years away at the earliest. There are no guarantees as to which cities get a team either, but at this point it seems likely that the league will add two teams. Seattle and Las Vegas are the two cities at the top of that list.

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