NBA Expansion? Should Minnesota Timberwolves be worried?

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

The Minnesota Timberwolves are one of 30 teams in the NBA. But there has been ever-building pressure to add teams, expand the league, and cover more cities in the process. Some cities that once had NBA franchises that moved away include Seattle (Supersonics), Kansas City (Kings), San Diego (Clippers), Saint Louis (Hawks), and Baltimore (Bullets – Wizards).

But new cities have become home to professional sports, like Las Vegas, Nevada, and/or Nashville Tennessee.  The question to add more teams has been unresolved, and one that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has stated will be weighed after the NBA negotiates for media rights in the spring of 2024.

What could this mean for the Minnesota Timberwolves?

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Right now the NBA league is based on six divisions of five teams apiece. But the initial league expansion will likely involve no more than two teams. The problem is, 32 teams do not spread evenly over six divisions, and will necessitate restructuring the entire NBA, most likely into eight divisions of four teams apiece.  Does that mean stripping one team from the Northwest Division, which geographically makes sense to be the Portland Trail Blazers? Or does it mean a completely new reshuffling of the deck?

Would it make more sense for the Minnesota Timberwolves to compete against the Milwaukee Bucks than the Utah Jazz? Do the Memphis Grizzlies get added to that mix?

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The entrance of new teams into the league will likely not happen until the 2025-26 NBA season at the earliest, and even that would require fast-tracking everything. A more plausible time frame, particularly considering the potential need to reorganize NBA Divisions and perhaps even the NBA Playoffs elimination chart, is to look at the 2026-27 NBA season.