According to reports by Willie Ramirez of the Associate Press, the NBA plans to add two new teams in Las Vegas and Seattle. NBA commissioner Adam Silver previously stated that an expansion wasn’t imminent, but it appears as though those plans have changed. The NBA will reportedly make the announcement during the NBA preseason next month.
Las Vegas has become a pro sports city in the last decade, with successful franchises in the Vegas Golden Knights of the National Hockey League, the Aces in the WNBA, and the Raiders in the NFL. Adding an NBA team would further enhance the city’s reputation as a sports mecca. The NBA preseason and Summer league is held annually in Vegas, and the city would also be an excellent venue for regular season games.
Seattle is no stranger when it comes to professional sports, either. The city is home to the NFL’s Seahawks and the MLB’s Mariners, making it one of the country’s top markets for pro sports. The city is the former home of the SuperSonics. The SuperSonics played in the NBA from 1967 to 2008 before moving to Oklahoma City. Seattle has a lengthy history of supporting professional sports teams, and it would probably welcome the addition of a new NBA franchise with open arms.
What implications will NBA expansion have on conferences?
How these announcements would affect the current conferences is unknown at this point. Since Las Vegas and Seattle are on the West, those two cities joining the Western Conference would make sense. Teams like New Orleans, Memphis, and Minnesota would probably have to move to balance the new teams. Moving those teams to the East could change the conference’s makeup in a significant way. Minnesota and Memphis are both competitive teams with young talent, and they would be massive additions to the Eastern Conference. It is currently unknown how this move would affect the NBA playoff format.
The last NBA expansion occurred in 2004 when the Charlotte Bobcats(Hornets) were added to the league. The move resulted in the New Orleans Hornets ending up in the West. With the current landscape, adding two teams to the Western Conference could have a major impact on the conference structures in the future.
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