NBA expansion may not happen until 2025 at the earliest
The legendary Key Arena will see its first NBA game in 10 years played today, as the Golden State Warriors take on the Sacramento Kings at the old home of the Seattle SuperSonics, which turned into the Oklahoma City Thunder during Kevin Durant’s second year. While Seattleites have been imploring to become an expansion city, the NBA doesn’t see it happening until seven years down the road, at the earliest, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
“The NBA doesn’t have expansion anywhere on its timeline, and Seattle’s arena developments weren’t discussed for a moment at the fall board of governors meeting two weeks ago, league sources said. Some prospective ownership groups that have met with NBA officials have been told expansion may not happen until 2025 at the earliest, when a new TV deal can be negotiated, sources said.”
The NBA has put all of his focus in branching out to international markets (England, Asia, Australia and Africa, among others), growing their G League structure to ensure every team has a farm system, as well as tapping into the exploits of legalized gambling — hoping it produces additional avenues of revenue, similar to what the brand new TV deals did recently.
Key Arena would have to undergo some hefty remodeling to be up to NBA standards, and while expansion could be an option, the most direct way to get back in the NBA would be relocation — hoping a franchise would be for sale and able to move to Seattle as its new home city.
Even the concept of housing a franchise outside of the U.S. has been discussed before, which now brings competition to this ideal of housing another NBA franchise.
“There are lots of terrific markets out there in the United States and some in countries attached to the United States who also have wonderful cities that could potentially house NBA teams,” commissioner Adam Silver said in June, a reference to the league’s interest in Mexico City.
The Memphis Grizzlies is the best potential franchise to get relocated, but owner Robert Pera has shown no signs of being willing to sell it after recently buying out his partners to get full control of the franchise. The Clippers were also seen as another one, but owner Steve Ballmer has already geared talks toward a new arena, putting the flame out rather quickly in hopes of a return to The Emerald City.