Social media had a lot to say following a report that the NBA will soon announce a plan to expand to 32 franchises.
Citing sources, Willie Ramirez of the Associated Press reported on Tuesday that the NBA wants “to finally announce expansion to Las Vegas and Seattle” during two upcoming Los Angeles Clippers’ preseason games. The tweet has since been deleted, but you can view a screenshot of it below.
The NBA hasn’t had an expansion franchise since the Charlotte Hornets (previously the Charlotte Bobcats) became the 30th NBA franchise in the 2004-05 season.
Since 1990, only three franchises have been added to the NBA: The Hornets and the Toronto Raptors and Vancouver (now Memphis) Grizzlies. The latter two joined the league in the 1995-96 season.
In just four years, the NHL went from 30 teams to 32 by introducing the Vegas Golden Knights and the Seattle Kraken in 2017-18 and 2021-22, respectively. The NHL and NFL each have 32 franchises, while the NBA and Major League Baseball carry 30 teams apiece.
For what it’s worth, commissioner Adam Silver made it clear ahead of the 2022 NBA Finals that expansion wasn’t imminent. Silver said that the NBA “will invariably expand, just not at this moment,” per Madison Williams of Sports Illustrated.
Three years after welcoming the Golden Knights, Sin City landed the Las Vegas Raiders. In a controversial move, owner Mark Davis decided to relocate the franchise after spending the previous quarter-century in Oakland.
Seattle, of course, was home of the NBA’s SuperSonics from 1967-68 to 2007-08 before relocating to Oklahoma City, where they became the Thunder. In 2013, a Chris Hansen-led group reached an agreement to purchase the Sacramento Kings from the Maloof family.
However, the NBA owners rejected the move. The Kings have remained in Sacramento ever since.