Once again, the talk of contraction has reared its ugly head in the NBA. And this time, Commissioner David Stern makes the idea sound like an inevitability.
“[Contraction] is not a subject that we’re against,” Stern said. “The players actually have been heard to suggest that as well…So we’ve said to the players, you know, ‘Give us the right to contract, let’s agree upon what the basis will be. Let’s make this deal and then let’s continue to look at that subject.”
Last October, when the talk of contraction first came up, we looked at the six NBA teams most likely to be contracted. And considering that one out of every four NBA teams has lost value during the most recent collective bargaining agreement, there could be even more candidates.
If the NBA does contract two teams, it would be the first time the league contracted since going from nine teams to eight in the 1954-55 season.
Since then, the NBA has nearly quadrupled in size, expanding to its current size of 30 teams in the 2004-05 season. The single largest jump in league size came in 1976-77 after the NBA-ABA merger when the league added four teams and jumped from 18 to 22, an increase in 22.2 per cent.
Here is a look at the history of expansion in the NBA…