nba expansion canada

NBA considering expansion with potential for another team in Canada

It's been nearly 20 years since the NBA last expanded, but the topic appears back on the table.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver admitted that the league is considering expansion on Wednesday. Though not imminent, it does sound like a new team or two could be added in the not-so-distant future.

And apparently there are Canadian markets that have shown interest.

"It's come up many times," Silver said prior to Wednesday night's game, in response to a question about expansion from Jalen Rose.

"What we said a few years ago was we had to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement, which we've done… we have an agreement in principle. And then we'll have labour peace through 2030. That's really exciting."

"The other thing we need to get done… is do a new media deal. And once we got those new media deals done, then we'd know essentially what our future was, our main expenses, our main revenues. At that point I'm pretty sure we're going to turn back to expansion."

The NBA's current television rights deal with ESPN and Warner Bros Discovery expires at the end of the 2024-25 season.

The NBA last expanded in 2004, when the Charlotte Bobcats entered the association. The Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies joined the league in 1995.

"It's been a long time since we expanded. There's a bunch of great markets in the US frankly, other markets in Canada have shown interest as well. Mexico City has shown interest."

"I think it's a natural part of any organization to grow over time, and clearly the sport is growing in the United States, and it's growing globally. Not at this moment but we will look to expansion in the future."

Las Vegas and Seattle have generated the most buzz regarding NBA expansion recently, with Shams Charania of The Athletic singling those two cities out as the most likely candidates for new teams.


So Canadian cities like Vancouver and Montreal may be long shots, though Vancouver in particular has been mentioned in recent years.

Seattle, Mexico City, Louisville, Las Vegas, and Vancouver were shortlisted cities in the NBA's eyes according to a 2017 report.

In 2019, Silver gave hope to hoops fans on Canada's west coast in an interview with the CBC.

"In retrospect, I wish we had a team in Vancouver right now. I think Canada could handle two NBA teams," said Silver.

"I think we were a bit ahead of our time… Unfortunately we're not in expansion mode right now, but it would be nice to have a team in Vancouver," Silver added at the time. "It's a great market, I have some in-laws that live in Vancouver. I get there, it's a beautiful city."

Lead photo by

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports


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