Thoughts of the NBA expanding to 31 or 32 teams has been kicked around by Sonics fans for a few years now. But, as Business Insider points out, the sale of the Clippers for $2 billion has inflated the value of franchises. They may not all go for nearly as much, and few franchise sales benefit the league owners individually.
Business Insider does a little math for use, here:
While potential expansion owners are unlikely to pay $2 billion for a team not located in Los Angeles, it is not unreasonable to think the current NBA owners see that price and now think they can charge $1.0-1.5 billion for an expansion franchise.
If the NBA sells two expansion franchises, bringing the total number of teams to 32 (same as the NFL), that would be $70-100 million for each of the league's 30 NBA owners.
That's a big payday in a league where the average team had an operating income of $23.7 million in 2013.
Read the rest here: Sale Of Los Angeles Clippers Will Accelerate NBA's Plans To Expand
I think $1.5 billion is pretty high for an expansion team, and it probably is. Steve Ballmer offered $650 million for the Bucks and was rebuffed, not because it wasn't enough money, but because he would have relocated that team. Relocation fees on top of a $650 million dollar sale ends up costing $750 to $800 million. $1 billion doesn't look so crazy in that context.