NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum in an interview for The Players' Tribune (h/t NBC Sports' Dane Carbaugh) it's likely a matter of when, not if, the NBA considers a return to Seattle.
"I think it's just a question of when the right time is to seriously start thinking about expansion. Think about the state we're in the league right now, where [it is] amazing to me that, coming off of these Finals, you have some fans saying, 'There's only one good team in the league.'
"And I'm thinking, well, if people really believe that even though we have 450 of the best players in the world, and 450 players can only form one really good team, [it] probably doesn't make sense to expand in terms of dilution of talent.
"Now I don't really believe that, and I think these things correct themselves. And I don't want to put a precise timeline on it, but it's inevitable at some point we'll start looking at growth of franchises. That's always been the case in this league, and Seattle will no doubt be on a short list of cities we'll look at."
Silver's complete remarks can be viewed below:
While Silver called expansion "inevitable," he's been steadfast over the past few years that the league isn't currently looking at adding teams.
At his NBA Finals press availability in June, Silver reinforced that notion.
"Expansion is not something we're looking at right now," Silver said, per Uproxx's Robby Kalland. "It's less a function of labor peace. It more goes to the strength of a 30-team league."
Seattle has not had a franchise since the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder in 2008.
A group led by Seattle-based hedge fund manager Chris Hansen previously agreed to purchase the Sacramento Kings in 2013 with the intent of moving the franchise to the Pacific Northwest, but the league's Board of Governors voted against the sale and nixed the NBA's return to Seattle.