Is expansion on the NBA’s horizon?

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Last spring, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver once again informed the basketball world that the Association wouldn’t be expanding. Speaking in an interview, Silver stated the NBA was not in expansion mode, so fans in NBA-less cities shouldn’t get their hopes up of a new franchise. The NBA season is in full-swing and fans can get the latest Indiana sports betting bonuses before wagering on the next round of games in the Association.

The NBA hasn’t had an expansion franchise since 2004 when the Charlotte Bobcats were formed. They became the second incarnation of the Charlotte Hornets when the New Orleans franchise dropped the Hornets nickname and assumed the Pelicans moniker.

It has now been 15 seasons since the last NBA expansion franchise took the court and several cities have put themselves forward for a new franchise. Seattle, who lost the Supersonics in 2008, have been one of the cities chasing an NBA franchise. With a new NHL team headed to the Seattle market and a sports fanbase desperate to have a basketball team, the Emerald city makes a great option for expansion.

Las Vegas is another city that has been considered due to its rising role in the United States sports landscape. The problem of mixing sports with gambling has suddenly become a non-issue. With the NBA and teams inking deals with sportsbooks, Las Vegas has become a prime location to place a fledgling sports franchise. The NFL Raiders will join the city’s sports sphere in 2020.

Canadian cities Vancouver and Montreal have both been rumored as possible expansion destinations. Vancouver was the previous home of the Grizzlies and the NBA may be unlikely to go into a city it once occupied. Montreal’s possibility of being an expansion city may depend on the investors currently seeking financing to start a franchise.

While Silver has routinely thrown cold water on the idea of expanding the NBA, he has worked to open up other areas of interest. The Basketball Africa League is one of the latest ventures the Association has undertaken.

In addition, rather than expanding the league, Silver has looked at ways to draw more fan interest to the Association. Television ratings have dipped in the early stages of the 2019-20 season and the league needs to find ways to keep current fans invested. Expansion is off the table right now with a new schedule and in-season cup tournament on the way.

Relocation is likely to be the only way a non-NBA city gets a franchise. There are some franchises that may consider a move before long due to low revenue and attendances. The Pelicans continue to have strong odds on relocating with Seattle being a possible destination. When Anthony Davis was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, it was all doom and gloom around the Pelicans. It seems difficult to believe they would uproot themselves already, but outside of the Pelicans, most other franchises have long histories in their cities.

One of the obvious choices for relocation would also be the LA Clippers. However, the Clippers are now relevant in the Los Angeles area, so don’t expect them to leave.

Expansion isn’t on the horizon for the NBA. While relocation could be in the future, it is more likely that the NBA spends its energy focusing on other areas to grow fan interest.