Enough talent for NBA expansion?

Projecting whether the global player pool can support more NBA teams

Updated: February 13, 2014, 2:36 PM ET
By Kevin Pelton | ESPN Insider

Adam Silver, David SternAP Photo/Sue OgrockiAdam Silver and David Stern differed on whether there's enough talent to support NBA expansion.

As the NBA considers the prospect of expansion at some point in the future, the league must consider a pair of factors. How many markets can support NBA teams? And how many teams can the league support without harming the level of play? In an interview with ESPN's Darren Rovell earlier this week, new NBA commissioner Adam Silver expressed skepticism about the size of the player pool from which the league draws.

"I and the owners will look at not only dilution of economic opportunities with one more partner to divide national and international money but also dilution of talent," Silver said. "Right now [people] are already making comments about the [Eastern Conference], so is the ideal time to be adding another 15 or 30 players to the league?"

This is not the first time Silver has raised the issue of expansion weakening the league. He and former commissioner David Stern actually disagreed on the topic when they jointly addressed media before last year's NBA All-Star Game. After Silver questioned the number of potential NBA players, Stern countered, "I think it's an unlimited number."

As evidence, Stern pointed to the number of international players entering the league, specifically from Africa. Indeed, the NBA's growth in popularity internationally is a key reason the league could support not only one or two additional teams but potentially several more.


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