Adam Silver: NBA Not In Position To Expand Despite Growing Interest
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league is "not in expansion mode at this time" despite growing interest from a number of U.S. and Canadian cities, according to Laura Armstrong of the TORONTO STAR. Silver, speaking ahead of the NBA Finals, added, "I'm sure inevitably at some point we'll turn back to expansion, but it's not on the agenda at this time." Silver said when the league does eventually discuss expansion, it would be looking at "not necessarily the short-term benefit of an expansion fee, but is it additive over the long term?" Silver: "Is that franchise adding something to the footprint of the league that the current 30 teams don't?" (TORONTO STAR, 5/31).
HITTING THE RIGHT NOTE: Silver also said that he "spoke with the Jazz" following a heated exchange between Thunder G Russell Westbrook and a Jazz fan in March and "thanked them for how they handled its aftermath." Silver: "I appreciated the way that they had handled it and that it was not going to be tolerated in the NBA." He added there is "always more we can do" in regard to improving the in-arena atmosphere. Silver said there is a "legitimate expectation" that when fans buy their ticket that they are "allowed to yell and scream when a guy's on the free-throw line or whatever else." Silver: "But then there's something else that we call it hate speech, which is clearly impermissible" (ESPN.com, 5/30).
KEEPING TABS: The AP's Tim Reynolds noted the NBA is "closely monitoring the ongoing trade dispute and tariff rift between the U.S. and China," but the league is "not yet worried that it will interfere with any business." The NBA's ties with China have "never been stronger," but the political ties between the two countries are "severely strained right now." Silver "sees these times as a chance for basketball to, again, bring cultures together" (AP, 5/30).