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League deputy commissioner discusses NBA expansion to 32 teams

While the G League has helped grow the game of basketball in recent years, the NBA hasn’t seen an expansion team since 2004, when the then-Charlotte Bobcats joined the fray. It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly 20 years since, especially with some cities seemingly ripe for expansion, such as bringing the Seattle SuperSonics back.

Yet, for whatever reason, the NBA hasn’t made expanding from 30 to 32 teams a priority. While a strong case could be made that other issues are far more pressing, another case could be argued that the league now has more talent today than ever before.

Still, it doesn’t sound like the NBA is planning to amplify its efforts to add another team or two to the league in the near future, according to deputy commissioner Mark Tatum.

“Right now expansion is not at the top of our list. The next big thing on our agenda is getting through the national media rights deal. We’ve got two years left on that. So we won’t really focus on expansion until that point. At that point I think we’ll do an assessment of whether it not it makes sense. The amount of talent in our league is incredible. We really do have 450 of the best players in the world. There is certainly enough talent to go around, but it’s not a priority right now. We have to go through an extensive analysis looking for places that have the right facilities.”

NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum on thoughts of expansion

It’s clear that expansion is something the NBA plans to revisit at some point, but Tatum also explicitly states that fans shouldn’t expect a new professional basketball franchise to join the Association any time soon.

Instead, fans holding out hope for expansion may have to wait until at least 2025 before the NBA gets serious about revisiting the idea again.

Related: NBA mock draft 2023: Projecting all 58 picks

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