NBA: Adam Silver: NBA expansion talks on list after media deal

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Once the NBA finalizes an expected long and lucrative media-rights deal, commissioner Adam Silver said the focus can turn to expansion.

Speaking on NBC Sports Boston’s pregame show before Game 2 of the NBA Finals between the Celtics and Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night, Silver said no decisions have been made on expansion but that it will merit consideration.

The NBA has 30 teams, two fewer than the NFL and NHL.

“We have to understand what our long-term media relationships are before we look to expansion. We’re in the process of wrapping up those deals now,” Silver said. “They’re going to be long-term deals. I’m hoping, we’re not done yet, but they’ll be successful in terms of generating more money for the league and the teams and then we’ll be in a position to look at expansion.”

The league is in negotiation with current and potential media partners for a new deal beginning with the 2025-26 season. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the package could run 11 years and be in the range of $75 billion.

“It’s not preordained that we’ll expand,” Silver said. “I’ve said it before, you’ve got to look at the dilution, potentially, of talent, but there’s so much great basketball being played around the world. I don’t think there’s any doubt that over time, this league can sustain two more teams. And there’s interest in the market, so once we finish our media deals, we’ll turn our attention to that.”

Silver said Seattle and Las Vegas have drawn the most attention as sites for prospective expansion teams in the U.S. Looking down the road, Mexico City could become the NBA’s second international city.

But he wasn’t willing to commit to any combination of those three cities on Sunday, saying there were “lots of other U.S. cities and Canadian cities, frankly, that have reached out to us to tell us they’d be interested.”

The league last expanded in 2004 with the addition of the Charlotte Bobcats, now the Hornets. The previous Charlotte Hornets moved to New Orleans, later rebranded as the Pelicans, and returned the franchise name to the North Carolina city.

–Field Level Media

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