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League targeting $2.5 billion as price for expansion teams

The NBA is considering expansion after having brushed aside the idea for some time. How the Minnesota Timberwolves fare in its potential sale could be an indicator of the price for expansion teams, but according to recent NBA rumors via ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the league is considering a more ideal price point.

“Within the league office, sources said officials have floated the price tag of $2.5 billion each for two expansion teams in the near future.” Windhorst wrote. “Unlike other major revenue streams such as TV and ticket money, expansion fees are not split with players. Such a haul could mean about $160 million per team, a windfall that could wipe out the massive debt load that’s piling up, and that alone has perked interest in the expansion path.”

As Windhorst also explained, the league knows which cities are interested in buying an expansion franchise. Seattle and Las Vegas have long been considered as markets for future growth. Seattle, in particular, knows what it’s like to host an NBA team as they had the SuperSonics in town as recently as the mid-2000s. After it was sold to a group headed by Clay Bennett, the team was relocated and renamed the Oklahoma City Thunder. 

Since then, Seattle has been hoping for the return of an NBA team. The city remains among the most vocal seeking an expansion team as the league plans to get out of debt.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said that the league’s destiny is in expansion.

NBA Rumors: Minnesota Timberwolves sale could be lower than expected

Recent NBA rumors also reported by Windhorst involving franchise ownership and expansion have the Minnesota Timberwolves priced at something far lower than what owner Glen Taylor was hoping.

A group led by former Memphis Grizzlies minority owner Daniel Straus is reportedly the top potential buyer for the Timberwolves as of this moment, but the sides have not found a deal that would make both sides happy.

“Valuations put the Wolves in the $1.3-1.5 billion range including debt, sources said, less than what Taylor was hoping to fetch,” Windhorst wrote. “Straus, sources said, revised his offer after it was clear fans would not be in arenas en masse this season, assuring steeper short-term losses.”

The Utah Jazz recently sold for $1.66 billion to Ryan Smith, the billionaire businessman and longtime Jazz fan, indicating a strong market value for NBA franchises.

Taylor is likely looking at the Jazz sale as his starting point in negotiations, even if that might not be what his team may be worth at this time. The league is no doubt closely monitoring the progress of the sale as it could affect the value of expansion franchises.

Also Read: NBA News Roundup: “It was a conversation for sure” — Anthony Davis on playing alongside Paul George on Indiana Pacers

Published 06 Jan 2021, 06:28 IST

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