There has been an awful lot of talk over the past few years regarding the NBA and the potential to expand. This expansion would add more teams into the fray, and it’s something that other professional sports leagues have done as of late. Particularly, the NHL, as they added multiple over the past decade. The NBA is a bit more complex though, as they haven’t expanded in quite a long time. So, who is the newest NBA team?
Who Is the Newest NBA Team? The most recent and “newest” NBA team that we currently have is the Charlotte Bobcats. A team now known as the Charlotte Hornets. This expansion to bring in Charlotte came all the way back in 2004, but still stands as the most recent addition to the league. I would say that it’s about time we start to see some movement on another franchise. That is of course, if it’s under the right circumstances.
Out of all of their possible new expansion teams, why was it that the league chose the Bobcats? And why were they flipped to become the Hornets?
NBA Liked Charlotte
The league made it clear back in 1985 that they were planning on adding three new teams to the mix by the 1988 season. Eventually, that number wound up being four teams, with one of them being Charlotte. Now you might be thinking, how did Charlotte become the most recent expansion team in 2004 when the league was searching to add them back in 1985. The answer to that is simple, the Charlotte Hornets eventually became the New Orleans Pelicans, but that wasn’t how they were introduced. The Charlotte Hornets wound up being a popular team by the NBA because they had one of the greatest stadiums around back then. In the early years in the league, they instantly sought out veteran talent to contend straight away rather than go into a rebuild and start from scratch. They rapidly declined in popularity as the years went on, and by the 2000s it was clear that something just wasn’t working. The team made an abundance of trades that made their roster severely worse, and the fans weren’t happy about it. Attendance was dropping quickly, and the league approved a deal to send them to New Orleans. The league was worried that they might face a major lawsuit for removing the Charlotte NBA franchise so they announced that they would be looking to replace the Hornets with a new franchise. Hence, where the Charlotte Bobcats came into play. The league eventually named Robert L. Johnson as the owner of the franchise and had famous hip-hop artist Nelly as a co-owner along with many others.
How Did They Rebrand Back To The Hornets?
The Charlotte Bobcats weren’t the most popular team in the league, but their numbers were better than they were previously. However, they were forced into a similar position with the franchise just not sticking on as much as some others were at the time. After about 10 years, one of the new leaders of the organization started to contemplate a rebranding. That new leader happened to be arguably the best basketball player to ever live, Michael Jordan. Jordan and the rest of the staff submitted an application to the league to completely rebrand their franchise moving forward. They were hoping to get the job done as quickly as possible in 2014. The suggestion was that they go back to the Charlotte Hornets as the New Orleans Pelicans were previously. The league gave them the majority vote they were looking for in the Board of Governors and then Jordan announced a team campaign to further boost popularity. The campaign would be called Buz City and they changed their logo, their colors and their advertising along with the main name change. It’s a pretty strange rebranding deal all-around, but the bottom line is that the Charlotte Hornets happened to be a name that did well early on with the Pelicans organization, so they opted to go back to it to start new campaigns of their own. It might sound like the Pelicans were technically the most recent NBA team, but they were technically the Charlotte Hornets, so that isn’t the case. The Charlotte Bobcats were the last team to be added on and got changed to the Hornets after that team flipped to become the Pelicans.
Could There Be Another Expansion Team Soon?
The short answer to this question is yes. In fact, it’s not just one team either, it’s expected to be two. Rumors have been swirling around for quite a long time regarding the NBA expanding to popular cities such as Las Vegas and Seattle. The NBA Commissioner Adam Silver denied the possibility of an expansion team happening soon, but he did say that it was inevitable for them to expand. Fast forward a few months and reports were coming out again that there could be two expansion teams by the year 2024. Seattle and Las Vegas being the most likely cities to get in on the action. Unfortunately, these are all just rumors and reports, so there isn’t any type of official word out there regarding an expansion happening. Fanbases in both Seattle and Vegas are certainly hoping to get a new NBA team sooner rather than later though. Seattle fans in particular have been clamoring to get another franchise after the NBA took the Seattle Supersonics and changed them to become the Oklahoma City Thunder. Whether or not a potential Seattle team would be called the Supersonics again is yet to be talked about either. Teams should be preparing to pay the expansion fees down the line though. It was reported over a year ago that each team would be required to pay $2.5 billion in order to get the expansion completed. To wrap this up, Adam Silver had this to say about the cities of Seattle and Vegas, “Those are wonderful markets. Again, as I’ve said before, we were in Seattle. I’m sorry we are no longer there. We have a WNBA team in Seattle in an almost brand-new building that’s doing spectacular. And Las Vegas, where we will be at our Summer League in July, has shown itself to be a great sports market as well.”