The recent news that the St. Louis Rams (and potentially San Diego Chargers) are relocating to Los Angeles got me to thinking. Thinking about what cities would field an NBA expansion franchise or an NBA team's relocation. The list I made came up with roughly a dozen American cities that could support an NBA team, and a handful of international cities. I've decided to rank them not by what is most likely or by what I would most like to see but rather as a combination of the two.
Seattle is a clear number one. Not only would it be fun to see a modern comeback of the Supersonics, Seattle is an extremely likely destination. The Pelicans, the Bucks, and the Kings have all come close to moving there. Even with no impending expansion for at least the next decade, it would be no surprise to see a team relocated to Seattle in the near future.
2. Kansas City
Kansas City is a large city that has not seen pro basketball in a long time, but would definitely welcome it with open arms. Their fanbase would constitute a large, and committed, population in the Midwest considering the area's lack of pro teams (Thunder, Bulls, Grizzlies) and history of support. And a possible move from the Thunder in the next decade would free up an attractive financial situation. Especially considering that it's brand new, state-of-the-art basketball arena, the Sprint Center, that goes nearly unused.
3. Las Vegas
Believe it or not Las Vegas is HUGE in the NBA scene. The city is the home of the NBA all summer, and not for any of the reasons that you think. Every summer the NBA has its thousands of off-season meetings among owners, NBPA, coaches, etc. All while its summer league plays in the same city. Fans flood to the SUMMER LEAGUE games, imagine what they would do for a hometown team. Las Vegas is actually much more densely populated than it leads on as well, giving franchises ample opportunity to make a profit.
4. St. Louis
Really only here because of the likelihood of a team moving to Missouri being so high. If we don't see a team in Kansas City then having one in St. Louis would become a near inevitability. It would also fill St. Louis fans' void of not having an NFL team. Plus the team would probably have a sweet nickname and logo.
Would have been much lower if not for my love of the city and association to its sports teams, but, still a good possibility. If the NBA was to decide to throw another team in the northeast it would be here (unless they decided to make a third NYC team, smh). Pittsburgh boasts a new multi-use arena, Consol Energy Center, that hosts NCAA Tournament games each year. So of course it could sustain an NBA team. But Pittsburgh is in decline as a market, it is not a very rich city. And it already has 3 other major sports teams, there isn't much room left for another franchise. Although the city has a rich tradition of basketball fandom through U of Pitt and Duquesne, my family from Pittsburgh always says, "we couldn't support a pro team, Pittsburghers just watch our college basketball." But hey, I can dream right?
6. Anywhere in California
A team in San Diego has a chance, a second team in the San Francisco/Oakland area has a chance, a team in San Jose has a chance, and if the Kings move then a reboot of a Sacramento franchise has a chance. Plus there is the extremely slim possibility of a third LA team. Really the only reason it made the list is because I combined 4 cities' chances into one. Hopefully this doesn't happen though because we certainly do not need more NBA games tipping after 10PM EST on weeknights. *rolls eyes*
7. NBA Europe
Putting one team in Europe is not practical, but a future division of teams there absolutely could be. To put a singular team in Europe would never have success because of scheduling, interest, and especially location. Expecting American teams to travel to Europe for one game is out of the realm of possibility. But teams traveling for a five game 'road trip' in Europe before returning to the states would be feasible, and vice versa with the European teams traveling to the states. Thinking about the possibility of a European division of the NBA seems practical and fun, but this likely has no chance of coming to fruition anytime in the next 15 years. It will not be too long, however, before the NBA takes a global stage and pushes for further international popularity.
8.) Vancouver 9.) Omaha, Nebraska 10.) Louisville, Kentucky