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    • My thoughts exactly, although I have been sulking a little over the injuries. It isn't to suggest that it put an asterisk by the Raptor's title, because, for example, beating the Bucks was amazing. It's just that the season is really long — 82 games — and then if you go to the finals for several seasons, the players see a lot of injuries. Durant's is very serious.

      It was a truly great final game with incredible suspense that could have gone either way, and I'm very happy for the Raptors. I think their fans even expressed admirable remorse for losing their minds and cheering Durant's injury.

    • The NBA champion is too often defined by who simply avoids the injury bug the best. That’s why the league should seriously consider shortening the season. Keep your stars healthier.

    • What do you think of the idea of expanding the league and creating new "divisions", shortening the season and then maybe the last 6 weeks are kind of a playoff run? I would like to see Las Vegas get a NEW NBA team, not a used one like the Raiders. LOL I want to like hockey because the Golden Knights have really solified that Las Vegas is destined to be a great sport town....and, prove all the naysayers wrong that casinos and having a local sport team(s) is actually good business. And, now that Toronto has made the Championship map, why not a Mexico City team? And, Seattle needs a team back as well. And, Omaha would probably have a strong mid-west presence.

      You heard it hear first...I would name them the Las Vegas Atomics....since we were the nuclear testing ground back in the 60's.

    • The thought of NBA expansion always excites me! This is a topic I have a lot of thoughts on. Before I share what they are, let me remind all of us that the league as of now is not interested in expanding in the near future. But, that doesn't mean they won't ever expand. I do expect expansion to happen within the next 10-15 years and possibly even sooner than that. 

      When expansion does happen next, I expect it to expand to 32 teams, though I do think a 36 team league is very possible in the next 25-30 years. The game is becoming more global and the NBA has fewer spots than any other league in the world, so there's definitely enough talent to expand to 36 teams. 

      When expansion does happen, the league should consider realignment of the divisions/conferences to give teams a more balanced travel schedule. Minnesota for example has a brutal travel schedule being located in the Western Conference despite being really close to Eastern Conference teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls. Actually, I think the NBA should already consider abolishing conferences and giving everyone a more balanced schedule. Help the Midwest teams in the Western Conference out. New Orleans and Memphis have brutal schedules as well. 

      As for what cities are likely to get a team (let's say six cities get a team in the next 30 years expanding to 36), these are the cities I think that are most likely to get a team: 

      #1. Seattle: When the NBA does decide to expand next, Seattle will be the first city that gets a team. The SuperSonics were stolen from Seattle and should never have left for OKC. Bringing back the Sonics would right that wrong. What also helps is Seattle is getting an NHL franchise, so that means a new arena is coming to the city. 

      #2. Las Vegas: Las Vegas I think will get a team because the NHL and NFL are already there. There were concerns about gambling, but I think those concerns have died down. The NBA is even embracing partnerships with legalized betting services, so when expansion does come again, Las Vegas is almost certain to get a team after Seattle. 

      #3. Kansas City: Kansas City has an NBA arena in place in the Sprint Center and it's a great sports town in the Midwest. They have the NFL and MLB there with a history of the NBA (Sacramento Kings). I think if the NBA adds to the Midwest, Kansas City is the first place they'd look. 

      #4. Austin: Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in the country and one of the biggest without a major sports team (11th largest city in the country). The NBA is thriving in Texas, so it stands to reason they could have a fourth team in the lone star state. 

      #5. Louisville: The ABA had a really successful team in Kentucky called the Colonels that for whatever reason didn't survive the merger with the NBA. Louisville has an NBA ready arena in the KFC Yum! Center that also houses the Louisville Cardinals. Louisville is definitely a place the NBA should strongly give consideration to. 

      #6. Vancouver: The Vancouver Grizzlies moved to Memphis due to being really bad and having poor attendance, but in hindsight, the NBA probably wishes they were more patient with them and kept them in Vancouver. It's a beautiful city that is much bigger than it was in the 1990s and would give the NBA a second Canadian team. They also have an arena in place that houses the Vancouver Canucks of the NHL. 

      #7. Montreal: There has been a movement to get an NBA team in Montreal and if Vancouver doesn't make a strong enough pitch, Montreal could very well be the second Canadian city to get an NBA team. Plus, it has a very international feel being French speaking and all. The NBA loves to go international and become more global, making Montreal a viable option. An arena also wouldn't be an issue as they house the Montreal Canadians of the NHL. 

      #8. St. Louis: If the NBA wants to go Midwest, St. Louis would be another great option. They have an MLB and NHL team and recently lost their NFL team. The ABA had a team in St. Louis with the Spirits, so why not bring them back? 

      #9. Virginia: Virginia doesn't have a major pro sports team, making them an untapped market with lots of potential. DC doesn't count as a substitute. A lot of people see Virginia Beach as the place to put a team. Great market that is certain to support a team. On top of that, the ABA had a very successful team in Virginia called the Squires. Bring them back! 

      #10. London: If the NBA really wants to go international, they could roll the dice on London. It's not too far from New York and they could set up two teams there just like New York and Los Angeles. An arena is also there. 

      There are other options as well like Buffalo, Mexico City, Pittsburgh, San Jose, San Diego, Fresno, Omaha, and Cincinnati but those markets aren't as likely to see a team. 

      Buffalo because it's so close to Toronto and New York already has two teams in the Knicks and Nets. Upstate New York is its own region, which is why Buffalo is a possibility, but I don't see it happening. 

      Mexico City is intriguing because of it being international and a huge market. There are two major issues that I don't see being overcome: 

      #1. Living conditions. It's going to be a tough sell to the NBA Players Association on board with playing in a place like Mexico. The whole appeal of playing in the NBA is playing in the United States/Canada. It's going to be tough to get NBA players to agree to play in a more dangerous, underdeveloped place. 

      #2. Altitude: Mexico City has huge elevation (7,350 feet). That's way higher than Denver or Salt Lake City. A lot of players would succumb to altitude sickness and it could be deemed both an unfair homecourt advantage and hazard to player safety. Actually, I think altitude is the bigger hurdle of the two. 

      Pittsburgh has never really been a basketball city. Plus, Cleveland is pretty nearby. It is a big market with an MLB, NFL, and NHL team, though. 

      The issue with San Jose is the Warriors would fight it and probably successfully block an NBA team from coming to the South Bay. Plus, the NBA sees San Jose, Oakland, and San Francisco as the same region/market. That all said, San Jose is one of the top ten biggest cities in the United States with an NBA level arena in the Shark Tank. It's definitely a possible market, but I find it less likely. 

      The same with San Diego. The Lakers and Clippers would probably fight it. Unless the Clippers decide to return to their San Diego roots and get that whole market to themselves. They might want to consider such a move. Especially since San Diego is one of the top ten biggest cities in the US. 

      Fresno is the 34th biggest city in the country and has its own market in the central valley of California. The issue is there just hasn't been much discussion about it. Plus, I'm not sure if the NBA wants to give California another team. They already have four. If they were to expand into California once more, Fresno might get the nod over both San Jose and San Diego, though. 

      The only issue with Omaha is it’s a bit smaller than places like Kansas City, Louisville, and Las Vegas. But it is the same size as Virginia Beach, so perhaps it's a more viable option than I think. I just don't see them getting a team. Purely a gut thing. 

      Cincinnati is smaller than Omaha and Ohio already has the Cavaliers. A Cincinnati-Cleveland rivalry would be pretty cool, though. 

    • Wow....you really know your stuff @slamdunk406 !! no wonder you have your blog. I love your London idea and agree that Mexico City would be a tough sell. It would still be a tough sell, but maybe a smaller market like Monterrey that is lower elevation and considered maybe more polished than the urban sprawl of Mexico City. Amazing how the state of California has soooooo many professional sports teams...Seattle, Vancouver, Louisville and Montreal seem like no-brainers.

      Hopefully you have voluntarily assumed the NBA Captain's chair around CAKE...I look forward to your future commentary! :)

    • Dude, my jaw was on the floor reading that. It’s incredible how much you know about this.

      First of all, I didn’t realize San Jose was so big and I live 15 miles away. I also didn’t realize the midwestern teams had such brutal travel schedules. I would have thought it would be tougher for coastal teams. How does that work?

      Would’t London add insane travel for almost everyone? 11 hour flight for the Warriors.

    • Would’t London add insane travel for almost everyone? 11 hour flight for the Warriors.

      I think @slamdunk406 's idea was to really regionalize the divisions.....such that the Warriors might not go further than Salt Lake to the East, Portland to the north and LA to the south? Maybe then any SoCal teams and Vegas would play as far as Texas....lots of moving parts....but, I also think by tightening the 1st level regions, you could really develop a stronger fan base....even if you had a crappy team, as least you could maybe see your team do well in your smaller regional conference or whatever you would call it.

    • Thanks! It all has to do with the fact that the Western Conference spans three time zones (Pacific, Mountain, and Central). You play everyone in your conference three to four times and teams outside of your conference only twice (once at home and once away). By eliminating conferences, the NBA could give those central time zone teams in the West an easier load.

    • yeah, basically, my idea is to shuffle the deck more. Make it so that in some years, Minnesota for example would face Milwaukee three times and Sacramento only twice. Make it more balanced for everyone. Also, realign the regions, which could be easily done after expansion happens.

    • Thanks! I enjoy spreading my passion for hoops! I really appreciate the kind words. I do think the more the NBA can diversify their markets, the better. A team in Mexico and another Canadian team would be awesome, no doubt. Monterrey is an interesting possibility. Seattle is gonna happen for sure. The big question is who else? Las Vegas does feel like a natural fit. As for London, it would make more sense in a 36 team league where the NBA has a four-team European division. London, Paris, Madrid, and maybe Dublin?

    • As for London, if you put two teams over there or maybe one in London and one in Paris, it could work. Actually, as I was telling @vegasphotog, if the NBA expands to 36 teams, a European division of four teams could work: London, Paris, Madrid, and Dublin? Basically it’s a five hour flight from New York to London, which isn’t too bad. A team like the Warriors would first play in New York or Boston before heading across the pond. That is how that would work.

    • I happened to read that.....the guy has alot on his plate....I really like how he carving his own professional niche....not just doing what Shaq or Magic Johnson are doing as businessmen.

      I happen to watch the new show he is listed as Executive Producer and I know it was intended to be dumb, but, the format seemed like a speed-dating episode remake of Wipe-Out. I sorta felt sorry for Steph....I am sure as he laughs all the way to the bank though.

    • Wow is right. I agree with your writeup....Even tho I am a fan of King James, I doubt he saw this coming...and, as you put it, the x-town rivalry should make LA fans explode. But, I am very disappointed in the fact that how much Toronto extended their whole country to him and this seems like such a slap in the face. Which reaffirms my wish that Kyle Lowry should have won the Championship MVP. Quite shocking news.

    • Exactly. You are spot on. Really disappointing that Leonard decided not to stay after the way Canada threw their full support at him.

    • Great write-up, Ben. Wow this is crazy.

      What fascinates me is how the power dynamic between player and team has changed. It’s unfashionable to me how much of the clippers future they had to mortgage to pull this off. What a risk. One injury like Durant’s and their decade is blown.

    • Y’know... I’ve always been reserved about Ballmer. I notice the audience was too.

      “There's only one thing that matters...” I don’t like that. To me it’s love of the game. Better if we win, but genuinely love to play with your teammates even if you run into a better team.