NBA Expansion-A Case by Case Look at Potential Future Cities

Recently NBA commissioner Adam Silver said to Portland Trailblazers guard C.J. McCollum that the league may look to expansion in the years to come.

“I think it’s just a question of when the right time is to seriously start thinking about expansion.I don’t want to put a precise timeline on it, but it’s inevitable at some point we’ll start looking at growth of franchises,” Silver said.

With that in mind,just like when we did this with the NHL in 2015, let’s look at the possible future NBA cities in the years to come in no particular order

SeattleKeyArena

Seattle

Let’s face it,the league owes Seattle big time after their team was ripped away from them after being a great city for the league for 41 years. The Seattle SuperSonics need to be back in this league.

The only trouble with it is that they need a new arena in this city very badly,and that’s going to have to happen if the league ever returns to the Emerald City. There was talk of having a new arena built by Chris Hansen,the man who tried to wrestle the Kings away four years ago,but it seems that he’s persona non grata in NBA circles. Another option is to renovate KeyArena (again) and spend the money refurbishing that building so it can be both NBA and NHL ready.

KFCYumCenter.jpg

Louisville

This is a city that,in my opinion,should have been included in the 1976 NBA-ABA merger, but that’s ancient history. Kentucky is a basketball-crazy state and unlike another state that’s the same way,North Carolina, this state has no professional sports teams in it.

They do have a fan base that would immediately embrace a team and an arena that’s capable of hosting an NBA franchise with the KFC Yum! Center which has a capacity of over 22,000.

The only major obstacle is that the Pacers may be against expansion to Kentucky since Louisville is about 100 miles away. However, this is a city that I think is ready to have a professional basketball franchise of their own. The name should once again be the Colonels.

HamptonRoads

Hampton Roads/Virginia Beach

Like Louisville, the Virginia Beach/Hampton Roads area is the state’s biggest metropolitan area. There’s a big sports spectator base here and this is the 12th largest state in the union in terms of population.

The only problem is that there’s no arena in the area and that funding for one was axed when the Sacramento Kings’ flirtation with moving there ended. I also imagine the Wizards may have some objection to expansion there,but it’s not warranted given that the two areas are 200 miles from one another. Also,let’s bring back the Virginia Squires name from the ABA days.

Austin

Austin

Texas’ capital city,which is a very diverse and young community,is perfect for the NBA and is their target audience. This is also a town that does not have any major sports teams despite how much the city is and has been growing.

The only problems are that the city is 80 miles from San Antonio,who could be objective to the idea of a fourth Texas team as well as one in close proximity. There’s also not an NBA ready arena there as well as the looming presence of University of Texas athletics.

KCSprintCenter

Kansas City

Here’s a city with an NBA-ready arena that’s been without a major league tenant (NBA or NHL) since it’s 2008 opening. The NBA has been in Kansas City before,but I think it’s time that they make a return there.

Sure,this city already has a devoted fan base with its MLB and NFL teams, but a city near a state like Kansas that,like Kentucky and North Carolina,is basketball crazy, could be a prime spot for a team with no team to compete with for a fan base.

TMobileArena

Las Vegas

If you remember my NHL list, this city was on top of it and they did get their expansion team who is set to debut this coming season. The venue they’re playing in is also NBA-ready and could very well support an NBA franchise coming there.

The problem I see,however,is that with the Golden Knights having landed and the Raiders coming there in 2020, it may be an already saturated market by the time an NBA team gets awarded to Sin City.

SanDiego

San Diego

I know the NBA has had two teams there,but there have been other cities who had multiple teams before one finally landed and stayed (Chicago comes to mind immediately), but this is a city that honestly should have more than one sports team. It’s a shame that the Padres are the lone standard bearers.

The biggest obstacles are trying to get an arena built there as well as an owner who believes enough in the city’s capability to support another team and to get them to help pay for an arena. I don’t think an owner is going to want to build it on their own.

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