Has the NBA already decided to expand?

The Minnesota Timberwolves are in the process of being sold. Current owner Glen Taylor joined the Chad Hartman Show, and it sounds like the NBA has already decided to expand. 

Taylor was asked about the new owners potentially moving the franchise out of Minnesota.

“The NBA will not approve the Timberwolves moving from here to Seattle. It’s in the NBA’s interest that in Seattle a new team is formed,” Taylor said. 

It certainly sounds like he is implying that the NBA will refuse a relocation to Seattle because the NBA is going to put a franchise in Seattle through expansion. 

Would the NBA refuse a relocation team to Seattle if they had not already decided to expand? 

Taylor continued answering why the NBA wants a Seattle team to be a new team.

“It’s an economic decision that is in the interest of all our owners because if they start a new team out there, that team is going to have to pay maybe $2 billion to get started out there. They pay that to the owners,” Taylor said. 

Adam Silver might not be happy with Taylor placing a $2 billion price tag on a expansion team, as Silver once stated $2.5 billion seemed too low. 

But the expansion fees a new franchise would bring in would directly benefit the owners, as each NBA owner would receive a share of the $2 or $3 billion. 

Taylor did use the word “if”, but it certainly sounds like the NBA is planning on when, not if, Seattle is added through expansion. 

Which brings Las Vegas into the picture. If the NBA has already decided to expand and if Seattle is essentially guaranteed a team, would the NBA be comfortable adding just one team?

The league has functioned with an odd number of teams before. So it is possible. 

But adding two teams at the same time seems to make more sense. Of course, willing cities and ownership groups will determine the timelines. But expanding to 32 – and bringing in two expansion fees – could be the NBA’s plan.

And Las Vegas’ path to an NBA franchise.

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