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Will The NBA Ever Return To Baltimore?

Will the NBA ever return to the Baltimore? It is a question that has been floated around several times over the years.

Here we look at how likely that move is with respect of both the immediate and longer-term views.

A battle of two former NBA cities

Firstly, let’s not ignore the fact that Baltimore did once have a NBA team. That was the Baltimore Bullets.

They were formed in 1944. The Bullets spent a few years in the ABL then flipped to the BAA, where they won a Championship, before spending their last few years existence in the NBA. They team folded in 1954 – just a decade after their formation.

In a world where elite basketball does return to Baltimore it will not be an easy route with plenty of roadblocks in the way. Most notably there is the issue of a sports arena, which is a) a long drawn-out process to develop and b) is something that has recently been overlooked by Mayor Brandon Scott.

The other factor to consider is that life isn’t as simple as ‘Baltimore want a NBA team, let’s get them in’. If the NBA was to be expanded, which at the moment looks unlikely, then there would be other cities keen to have their name in the mix.

The main opposition would come from Seattle. They previously boasted the Seattle SuperSonics, who were home to the likes of top defensive player Gary Payton and star center Jack Sikma, between 1967 and 2008.

That franchise is now based in Oklahoma aka the Oklahoma Thunder; it’s of little comfort to the fans who reside in Seattle. In fact, they’re known to feel rather disrespected by the league for taking their team away.

With protests having previously taken place it would be easy to assume noise of a NBA comeback is just fan unrest. It’s not. Players and coaches have been making waves about Seattle making a return and rumors have been on and off for a few years now.

The NBA view

If you look at Baltimore and Seattle, both cities have a strong case for having a NBA team. For starters, they’ve both been on the journey before but, more importantly, they’re known to have a passionate fan base who would immediately bring something to the league.

Unfortunately, the biggest of the roadblocks we touched on earlier is that the NBA have to want another team. So, the question is, do they want another team?

If you can trust the public words of commissioner Adam Silver, the answer is no. At least not imminently. The positive minded Baltimore fans might cling to his words that ‘expansion is inevitable’ but a deeper inspection of his interview would tell you that the NBA will be remaining a 30 team league for the foreseeable future.

Of course, there is the more positive spin of his statement – there will be expansion at some point be it in two, five or even 10 years’ time.

So, will we see Baltimore back in the NBA at some point?

Don’t quote us on it but it wouldn’t be the biggest shock in the world. A lot of the decision making will depend on how many teams they want to add to the league. Why is this important? Well, evidence would suggest that Seattle have first dibs on a spot.

Now, in all likelihood the NBA will expand by more than just one team. If they opted for a more even addition of two teams then you wonder how Baltimore would be seen.

As we’ve said, there is undoubtedly an appetite for a team to return whether that’s a rebirth of the Bullets or a new franchise but expanding the league only to delve into two previously used locations might not be the most popular move outside of Baltimore.

With places like Las Vegas and Mexico City also likely to be in the running it would be far from a foregone conclusion.

We fully expect NBA will be back in Baltimore at some point, but the reality is that it might not be for generations. Surely, we can’t wait to see Baltimore figure among the list of teams in NBA odds of edge.twinspires.com.


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