Tue. Apr 23rd, 2024

$10 billion. That’s how much money the NBA made from the 2021-22 season, which is a significant increase over the last several years. The league has arguably never been more
popular, and even with stars like LeBron James and Kevin Durant at the tail end
of their careers, the NBA seems to be in great shape, with many young players
ready to fill their shoes.

It comes as little surprise then that there’s talk of adding new teams into the mix. While it was only last year that commissioner Adam
Silver downplayed talk of expansion, he’s singing quite a different tune now.

“It’s not a sure thing but, as I’ve said before, I think it’s natural that organizations grow over time,” he said, implying that once a new media rights deal is completed, expansion is almost a foregone conclusion. In fact, while there are many worthy cities, Silver specifically mentioned two that appear to be the
front-runners: Seattle and Las Vegas. So, who wins and who loses from expansion?

Winners

The NBA

The clear winner of expansion is the NBA. The average team right now rakes in more than $350 million dollars, and a good chunk of that goes back to the
league. With ticket sales, merchandise and everything else fans pay for, two
new teams would add to the coffers greatly.

Fans in the new cities

Another big winner would be fans in Seattle and Las Vegas (or
whichever cities get teams). Folks in Seattle in particular would probably be
ecstatic to have a team again after the SuperSonics were heartlessly ripped from the
Emerald City.

Players

With only 15 spots, the NBA is by far the smallest of any
pro league in terms of roster size. With two new teams, this would give an
extra 30 players the chance to play. Plus, factor in the G League, and this
allows even more guys to make a living playing hoops.

Losers

Basketball fans

Basketball is a beautiful game when it’s played by talented
teams. But when teams aren’t so great, watching paint dry can be more entertaining.
An NBA expansion will almost certainly water down the league, which is pretty
watered down as it is. Almost every season, around half the teams finish at .500
or worse, and an expansion means that talent will get stretched even thinner.

Bad teams

Every year, those aforementioned bad teams wait with bated breath to see what pingpong balls they’ll get for the draft. Expansion will
almost certainly mean more lottery teams — particularly early on — which means
that more teams could stay bad for longer.

League integrity

If the NBA does in fact expand to Las Vegas, immediately there will be questions about gambling and the integrity of the game. This is something the NFL is dealing with now that the Raiders are in Sin City, and it has to be a concern for Silver and the rest of the NBA’s head honchos.

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