David Stern might be retired, but his successor, Adam Silver, is as bleak as Stern was over the prospects of Seattle rejoining the NBA any time soon. In comments to ESPN.com Wednesday, the new commissioner said expansion remains off the table, indicating that the league wants to stay with 30 teams so that the revenue each receives from the new TV deal will not be diluted.
The NBA’s current TV contracts expire in 2016.
“Seattle is a wonderful market,” Silver told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. “But we’re not planning on expanding right now, so it’s not a function of price.”
Silver said that he and the owners are not only concerned about smaller shares of national and international TV money for each club that would result from expansion, but the dilution in talent.
“Is this the right time to add another 15 to 30 players to the league?” Silver asked Windhorst. “Ultimately, I’m responsible for the financial and competitive health of a 30-team league and, while we made tremendous strides in the last collective bargaining agreement, we’re still not there yet.
“We don’t have 30 profitable teams in the NBA and, while we’ve made progress, there are still teams that aren’t competitive enough.”
Noting that Seattle investors Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer were willing to commit large dollars last year — $420 million to purchase the Sacramento Kings, a $115 million relocation fee and $200 million to repay bonds issued for a proposed new arena – Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban predicted via Windhorst that Seattle will one day receive an expansion franchise.
Cuban just didn’t predict when that might happen.