NBA's Adam Silver talks expansion to Mexico City, Montreal, Vancouver
The NBA has expressed interest in establishing franchise teams in Mexico City, Montreal and Vancouver.
Over the last few years, the NBA has often hinted at expansions. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver talked about the possibility of introducing another club in other cities. Last summer, Silver said the NBA would focus on its expansion plans after finalizing new TV rights deals following the 2024-2025 season.
"We will turn to expansion once those new media deals are done. It's not a sure thing but, as I've said before, I think it's natural that organizations grow over time," he said.
Silver said that Montreal had expressed interest in having a team, and there was ongoing interest in Vancouver. More than two decades ago, Canada had two NBA teams — the Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies. The Grizzlies have relocated and are now known as the Memphis Grizzlies. The Raptors are now Canada's only NBA team.
Vancouver and Montreal have hosted exhibition games for years. Last October, Montreal hosted a game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Detroit Pistons at Bell Centre. Silver once expressed regret for not having a team in Vancouver. He maintained that Canada could handle two NBA teams.
The Thunder has two Canadians on their team, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luguentz Dort. After the game, Gilgeous-Alexander said that the NBA "should put a team" in Montreal. Currently, there are 27 Canadians in the NBA this season. The NBA has a website called NBA Represent, which highlights Canadian players.
" become a great basketball market. It began so much as a hockey market when we first expanded there," Silver said.
"I will say the Toronto Raptors have done a good job of making themselves Canada's team. I know there's interest from Montreal. There's still ongoing interest in Vancouver. Young people love basketball now. Obviously, they still love their hockey there, but there will be more opportunity over time.”
Mexico City, other potential expansion targets
Mexico City currently has an NBA Gatorade League squad. The Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic played there last week.
"One day, I think that would be incredible if we could actually expand to a market like Mexico City," Silver said.
Meanwhile, the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves played preseason games in Abu Dhabi. As the fan base continues to grow, Silver said there would likely be more NBA games hosted overseas. He highlighted that the NBA will have a game in Paris next January.
“We think there’s an enormous opportunity to continue growing the game of basketball here in Mexico City and throughout the country. And we also see this as a gateway essentially to the rest of Latin America.”
"It is very much a global league, we got players from roughly 40 countries and over a quarter of players in this league were born outside of the United States," Silver said.
When it comes to expansion within the U.S., Seattle and Las Vegas are the two cities mentioned most. The Thunder was known as the Seattle SuperSonics before moving to Oklahoma City in 2008. Meanwhile, Las Vegas has hosted numerous NBA games. Fans, media, and players have expressed their interest in a team in Seattle.