Adam Silver reveals NBA has reconsidered expansion since the start of the pandemic

Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Stacy Revere

Adam Silver admitted the NBA has looked into the possibility of adding new teams since the COVID-19 pandemic severely changed the league’s financial situation.

Until the unprecedented event of the pandemic, the league had expressed little to no interest in expanding beyond 30 teams.

As Tim Bontemps of ESPN reports:

“I think I’ve always said that it’s sort of the manifest destiny of the league that you expand at some point,” Silver said during his annual preseason availability with reporters. I’d say it’s caused us to maybe dust off some of the analyses on the economic and competitive impacts of expansion.

We’ve been putting a little bit more time into it than we were pre-pandemic. But certainly not to the point that expansion is on the front burner.”

The NBA hasn’t added a team since it expanded to 30 by agreeing to add the Charlotte Hornets — then Bobcats — in 2002.

“One of our focuses as the league office is always on how do you create better competition. So that’s one of the things that we continue to think about as we consider expansion. … It’s an economic issue and it’s a competitive issue for us. So it’s one that we’ll continue to study, but we’re spending a little bit more time on it than we were pre-pandemic.”

Any expansion team would come with a fee, which could exceed $1 billion, per Bontemps. In any situation, this fee will be shared among the rest of the league.