NBA commissioner Adam Silver has again addressed the idea of adding teams, saying that potential expansion is likely to be determined after the next media rights deal is in place in 2024-25.
“Our current national deals with ABC, ESPN, and TNT go through the end of next season. And the reason we wanted to get those deals done, no secret, is we want to have a better understanding of what the economics would be going forward,” Silver said on SiriusXM Radio, via Keith Smith of Spotrac. “If you’re dividing up your national or international television money by 30 teams, that’s one check that you’re writing the teams. If it’s by – let’s say we expand by two teams – 32 teams, that’s a different one. And so you want to understand what the economics are you’d be delivering to new teams that came into the league.
“We’ll see what the timing is on those national television agreements. We don’t have to wait until the end of (next) season to get those done, but once we do, we’ll turn back to expansion.”
Seattle and Las Vegas are said to be the leaders when it comes to cities that are drawing interest from the NBA, though Silver recently indicated Mexico City and some Canadian cities could be in the running when the time is right.
“I think that had we expanded back a number of years ago, I think we may have seen more dilution,” Silver said. “I think now when you think of the global pool of players – as we move towards 30% of NBA players who were born outside the United States, including obviously some of our very best players in the league — I think that the timing will work out when we’re done with our media deals and we start looking to expand. I think we could potentially add two more teams to this league that could be very competitive.
“I made no secret out of it, Las Vegas is one of those markets we’re going to look to. I know that the fans in Seattle have wanted us to get back there forever. No commitments to anyone, but we’ll certainly be looking at those two markets.”