However, longtime Seattle sport columnist Art Thiel wrote last week that a source “with knowledge of the league’s long-range thinking” believes the NBA could expand when the current TV deal expires, meaning 2025 at the absolute earliest. Several owners told me a few weeks ago: that while there is strong support for Seattle, there’s just no desire to expand. Thiel’s source said that Seattle and Mexico City were the two current favorites among owners, and the league has done nothing to dissuade the idea that it’s zeroed in on Mexico City as a potential expansion target.
“There is nothing definite yet about a G-League franchise in Mexico City, or somewhere else in Mexico, for that matter,” Silver said. “[Mexico City Arena] is likely too large to house a G-League team. We’ve had our best results in the United States in facilities that were certainly under 7,000 people. In some cases, the arenas are even a little bit smaller than that.
“We’re just beginning to look at what the cost would be for putting a G-League team here in Mexico City. Right now, the teams are almost exclusively owned by NBA clubs. There are a few independent owners, but there is not, in essence, a market for G-League teams. They don’t sell independent of NBA franchises. It would be something that would be worked out with a partner here, and we’d determine, ultimately, what the value of that team is and the cost structure for operating in Mexico City.”