With the Toronto Raptors’ run to the NBA Finals this year — and the increased excitement surrounding the sport and Canada’s only NBA team that followed — it’s only natural that other Canadian cities want in on the action.
While adding a team to Montreal, returning to Vancouver or landing somewhere between could make sense in the future, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said on Thursday ahead of Game 1 of the NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena that expansion isn’t a priority for the league right now.
“We are just not in expansion mode at the time,” Silver said. “We’re flattered that other Canadian cities have expressed interest, as some other U.S. cities have, but again, nothing new, and I’ve said this before: We, meaning the NBA collectively, all our team owners are very focused on creating the best possible competition among the 30 teams.”
"We're just not in expansion mode at this time."
Adam Silver on adding a team in Canada. pic.twitter.com/Ro1p0gj3Ak
— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 31, 2019
Multiple American cities would make sense for the NBA should it choose to expand in the future, too, including Seattle — which played host to the Seattle SuperSonics until 2008. The city approved a massive renovation of KeyArena last year and started making a push for an NHL team — which many see as critical steps to eventually bringing an NBA team back to the city.
Las Vegas has tremendous appeal for the league and has already landed the NHL’s Golden Knights and the WNBA’s Vegas Aces. Sin City is also planning for the Oakland Raiders to move there next year. Kansas City has long been rumored to be on the shortlist, and the NBA is also launching a G League team in Mexico City next season, which could be seen as a test run for a potential NBA team in the Mexican capital.
Unless a team decides to relocate, however, it’s unlikely that the NBA expands until 2025, which is when a new TV deal can be negotiated.
Regardless, Silver knows there will eventually be a time to talk about expanding the league. That time, he said, just isn’t now.
“I’m sure inevitably, at some point, we’ll turn back to expansion,” Silver said. “But it’s not on the agenda at this time.”
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