Where should the NBA expand next? Seattle? Vancouver?

Kieran Light ’21

Recently, there have been rumours that both Seattle and Las Vegas will likely make bids for their own respective NBA teams. These rumours were first reported by ESPN analyst and NBA insider Brian Windhorst in January.

The NBA always expands in pairs to keep an even number of teams in the league. So, upon hearing these reports, I immediately started considering the best possible expansion city combinations.

Without hesitation, the first city that comes to mind when asked about expansion cities is Seattle. Although the city is already expected to make a bid, I can’t, in good heart, write about expansions without discussing it. Seattle was previously home to the beloved Seattle Supersonics for 41 years before they moved to Oklahoma City in 2008, despite being promised they wouldn’t be moved.

In any sport, whenever there’s the possibility of a new club joining its league, there are two questions that need to be asked. The first of which is: “Will the people living there want to support their team?” A return of the Sonics has been something desired by many fans across the NBA and not just heartbroken Seattleites. It’s clear that a lack of fans wouldn’t be an issue.

The next question to be asked is: “Does the city have the facilities required to host a team?” Recently, the naming rights to Seattle’s Key Arena, which is set to be the home of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken, were acquired by Amazon. The arena will soon undergo a $900 million renovation, so as far as facilities go, they’re set.

If the future owners were unwise enough to not name the team the Supersonics once again, other possible names include the “Seattle Tempests” for the city’s avid rainstorms, the “Seattle Shredders” for their long history of important rock figures, and the “Seattle Huskies” for their large husky population.

Vancouver and Seattle are two cities worthy of NBA teams

The other city I believe to be most deserving of an NBA team is none other than Vancouver. Although Vegas has had recent success with the Golden Knights and the Raiders, Vancouver makes much more sense to me. Like Seattle, Vancouver has passionate sports fans to support their team, as well as an arena that could support an NBA team in Rogers Arena where the Canucks play.

But what sticks out to me are the many rivalries that would come from a Vancouver-based team, which would make for more profit. If Vancouver were to acquire a team, they’d surely be at odds with their counterparts just south of the border in Seattle and Portland, as well as their fellow Canadian team, the Toronto Raptors.

Vancouver once had a team as well. They joined the league back in 1994 alongside the Raptors; they were known as the Grizzlies. However, because of awful financial decisions made by their owner and bad luck, the franchise was moved to Memphis, where it remains today under the same name.

Since “Grizzlies” wouldn’t be an option as a team name, other possible names that I love are the “Lumberjacks” for Vancouver’s large logging industry, the “Vancouver Kodiaks” (especially if they want to keep the bear theme), and the “Vancouver Lions” as a nod to the two famous lion statues that sit at Vancouver’s Lions Gate Bridge.

Photo credit: https://www.economist.com/the-americas/2016/10/13/vancouver-and-seattle-seek-to-come-closer-together

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