It’s time for the NBA to seriously consider adding an expansion team in Seattle — or simply allow the Los Angeles Clippers to relocate there.
The regional balance of the NBA currently makes no sense — the Los Angeles situation in particular. Yes, the SoCal market is certainly big enough to support two teams, but to have both the Lakers and Clippers play in the exact same arena is utterly selfish. Moving the latter to Seattle and adding two expansion teams would help balance out the Eastern and Western conferences tremendously.
Seattle is a world renowned city and deserves a NBA team again. Steve Ballmer, the former Microsoft billionaire and current Los Angeles Clippers owner, is the perfect person to lead the charge and get it done. Whether the team returns as the Supersonics (so classic!), Clippers, or something other, Seattle is the ideal destination being that the market already supports the Mariners and the Seahawks. There’s even been whispers of an NHL team moving there, so at least one of the sports leagues gets it.
Moving the Clippers to Seattle would help to realign the conferences for the better. Currently, there are three teams in the Western Conference that could easily play in the east — the Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans, and Minnesota Timberwolves. For the sake of this argument, let’s just slide all three of them over to the Eastern Conference. Next, let’s move the Clippers up to Seattle, a market which definitely can support the team. Since we’re adding throwback cities, we’ll give a team back to Vancouver as well — there’s certainly money there to support a team. Finally, let’s slide back down to the Bay Area, where Oakland will soon be left vacant from the Warriors departure to San Francisco. Oakland’s already a proven market and the region is more than capable of supporting two basketball teams.
To recap, the realignment would be the Grizzlies, Pelicans and Timberwolves to the Eastern Conference. The Western Conference would then introduce a total of three new teams in the cities of Seattle, Vancouver and Oakland. Canada would again have two teams and the NBA would make good on its ‘international’ expansion.
Overall, the Seattle franchise plays a big piece in a puzzle that could ultimately reduce player travel between cities and restore regional balance throughout the NBA. With the introduction of two new franchises and the relocation of an existing one, NBA talent would also shift being that just about every player in this day and age wants to have his ‘own’ team. Wealth throughout the league would be redistributed, new fanbases would develop, and most importantly, the Lakers would finally be able to stake its claim to the City of Los Angeles.
(This article was originally published on August 1, 2017)