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NBA Plans To Explore Expansion Once Media Rights Deals Signed

While Adam Silver did not confirm the NBA intends to expand in the near future, he did acknowledge that they will begin exploring the possibility once the league’s media rights deals are signed.

“Bill Koenig, can you tell me when the media deals will be over so I can begin the expansion process?” said Silver, joking with his lead media right negotiator, when asked about expansion during his media availability before Game 1 of The Finals.

“In all seriousness, I meant what I said. We do need to finish up — I think I said a few years ago, collective bargaining agreement, new media deals, then we would turn to expansion. So we got part one done clearly, and thank you to the Players Association. We are very happy, I think both sides are, with our collective bargaining agreement.

“Media deals, it’s been a long process. It’s ongoing, and we hope to wrap it up in the relative near term, and then we will turn to expansion. But by turning to expansion it doesn’t mean we’re going to announce that now we’re ready to add teams. It means that there will be a committee of NBA governors that will focus on it. There are clearly markets out there that are very interested and will run through a process.

“But I actually am looking forward to that. I think that the league, it’s not preordained that we will expand this time, but I know there’s an enormous amount of interest out there. And to me, yes, there are wealthy individuals, institutions that would like to invest and buy NBA teams, but I think it’s on the league to look holistically because there is the dilution, of course.”

Seattle and Las Vegas have long been expected to be the NBA’s targeted markets for expansion, but other cities such as Mexico City, Louisville and Kansas City have also been mentioned.

“Let’s say we expand by two teams. What does that mean for talent? I feel great about where the talent is right now in the league, but those players have to come from somewhere. If you add two teams, how does it work geographically? What will it mean for growing the game?

“At some point, we’d like to look outside the United States, in addition to Canada. This may not be the right moment to do that, but I’m thinking long term, as well.

“I’m actually very excited about turning to that process, but first we’ve just got to be finished with the media deals.”

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June 7, 2024 | 12:30 am

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