There’s been a lot of talk lately about which will be the NBA’s new potential destinations as the league is open to expand to more franchises. Las Vegas, Seattle and Vancouver have been the most common cities thrown around the media, but now there’s a second Canadian area which has been included in this lucky list.
According to league Commissioner Adam Silver, Montreal is another strong possibility as they not only have the financial interest, but also possess a huge sport fan base in the city. Ever since he addressed it in an interview this week, there is major excitement as their dream of one day having their own NBA team is closer to reality.
While the Boston Celtics played the New York Knicks on Monday, the broadcast team spoke to Silver about adding new teams in Canada. The executive then floated the possibility of both Vancouver and Montreal.
Adam Silver says Montreal, Canada could be a potential location for an expansion NBA team.
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“That’s become a great basketball market,” he told NBC Sports. “I will say the Toronto Raptors have done a good job of making themselves Canada’s team. I know there’s interest from Montreal. There’s still ongoing interest in Vancouver.”
While Silver assured that in Canada “there will be more opportunity there over time,” so many people have grown in excitement just thinking about being a destination for one of the biggest sport leagues in the world.
Probably one of the most intrigued is Montreal Basketball director and founder of Brookwood Elite Joey Mckitterick, who was addressed by the local press. “It’s exciting,” said the coach who raised star Bennedict Mathurin when he was growing up. “I think everybody’s really antsy to get an NBA team here.”
Fans on the street also made their voices heard. “Montreal would definitely be a good place for a team, and it’d be a good rivalry with Toronto as well,” pedestrian Sebastian Tchakounte told Global News. “I think it would work here, its passionate fan base for sports in general. Montreal has always been like that,” expressed Nate Rumley, another basketball fan.
Montreal has also raised many current NBA players, including Bennedict Mathurin and Lu Dort
The Canadian city also boasts numerous homegrown NBA athletes, including Mathurin and Lu Dort, who both come from Montreal north. Also, the league’s pre-season games at the Bell Centre have proven to be successful both in excitement and attendance.
Back when the Raptors won the NBA title four years ago, thousands packed Canadian cities, Montreal being one of the biggest after Toronto. This is why Mckitterick thinks cultivating fans shouldn’t be a problem.
“The opposing team can draw as much as the home team, just because it’s such a star-driven league,” he shared by saying that Canadians would definitely consume watching players like Stephen Curry or LeBron James, despite the prices. “Those luxury suites don’t sell easy. Those courtside seats don’t sell easy.”
Michel Leblanc, head of the Montreal Chamber of Commerce, also came out as a believer. “In my view, given the status of Montreal, the dynamic we have, it would be very profitable and something the population would love,” he expressed this week.
Even though the possibility is real, Mckitterick understands that this can still take decades before it can become a reality. “You’ve got to think about 15, 20 years, then probably two or three years to activate and launch,” he guessed.