We often hear about the expansion of the NBA, but we don’t always hear about the teams recently added to the league. So, what are the new NBA teams? We want you to completely understand how the NBA expansion works and who are the newest NBA teams, so we will thoroughly explain these things to you in this article. You will better understand what teams were recently added to the NBA.
Brief History of the NBA Teams
The NBA started back in 1946. However, it was not called the NBA then. The league was called the Basketball Association of America, or BAA. When the BAA began in 1946, the league only had 11 teams.
One of the most significant milestones in NBA history was the league coming together with the ABA in a merger in 1976. This merger allowed the league to expand by adding four new teams while expanding the talent pool simultaneously.
Since the inaugural 1946 NBA season, only two teams have never changed their names. Those teams are the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks.
Since the Celtics were founded in 1946, many people associate the name with success and excellence. The Boston Celtics team is based in Boston, Massachusetts, and plays their home games at the TD Garden. The Boston Celtics is by far one of the most successful teams in the history of the NBA. They have won numerous NBA championships, a total of 17.
Unfortunately for the New York Knicks, a team also founded in 1946, they have not been as successful in the NBA as the Boston Celtics. The Knicks play their home games at Madison Square Garden, one of the most famous arenas in all of entertainment. The team has only secured two NBA championships so far, both in the early 1970s, but New York has some of the most loyal and energetic fans of the NBA.
What is an NBA Expansion Draft?
In the NBA, when teams are added to the league, they are given the opportunity to select players from existing teams to help build their rosters. The existing teams usually protect up to eight players on the roster from the expansion draft. Only one player can be drafted from an existing team’s roster. When the NBA merged with the ABA in 1976, four new teams were added to the expansion draft.
New York Nets
Now known as the Brooklyn Nets, the New York Nets initially played their own games at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum located in Long Island, New York. One of the most famous players on the roster was the iconic Dr. J. Julius was able to seamlessly transition from the ABA to the NBA because of his incredible skill and playing style. The New York Mets had already won two ABA championships before the leagues merged, but unfortunately, they have not been able to capture an NBA championship since.
When the Indiana Pacers first came over to the NBA, they played their games at the Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. Unfortunately, since they have been in the NBA, they haven’t won any championships. The Pacers have been lucky enough to have legends on their roster, such as Paul George, Danny Granger, and Reggie Miller.
San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio Spurs is another NBA team from the ABA. The Spurs played their early games at the Hemisphere Arena in San Antonio, Texas. The team’s historic roster has guys like Alvin Robertson, David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Kawhi Leonard, and recently drafted a potential legend in Victor Wembenyama.
San Antonio is one of the most successful franchises in the history of the NBA. The team’s fans were lucky enough to enjoy five championships since the merger.
Initially, the Nuggets played their home games at the Denver Auditorium arena. Some of the most remarkable players to have worn the Nuggets of Jersey include Alex English, Carmelo Anthony, Allen Iverson, and Nikola Jojic.
The Denver Nuggets won their first NBA championship in 2023 behind the fantastic play of its star core of Aaron Gordon, Jamal Murray, and Nicola Jokic.
The Newest NBA Teams
A significant number of NBA expansion teams since the late 1980s up to the early 2000s. A total of seven new franchises were added during that time. The last three to be added were the Toronto Raptors in 1995, the Memphis Grizzlies, initially called The Vancouver Grizzlies in 1995, and the Charlotte Bobcats.
Making their NBA debut in 1995, playing their games at the SkyDome, the Raptors were the first team to represent a Canadian territory in the NBA. Legends like Vince Carter, Chris Bosh, Kawhi Leonard, and Kyle Lowry have played for the Toronto Raptors. The Toronto Raptors basketball team secured their first NBA championship in 2019.
The Vancouver Grizzlies was another team that entered the NBA in 1995, representing a Canadian territory. Initially, they played their games at the General Motors Place in Vancouver. The team was moved to Memphis in 2001. They haven’t been able to win an NBA championship, but they’ve been a consistent contender over the last couple of years.
New Orleans Pelicans/Charlotte Bobcats
The Pelicans were not a new NBA team but an existing NBA team in Charlotte that was moved to New Orleans. After the team was moved, there was a vacancy in Charlotte for a new team, and this is how the Charlotte Bobcats was founded. The Pelicans kept their roster from the old city, so an expansion draft wasn’t needed. The Bobcats, on the other hand, stocked their roster via expansion draft on June 22, 2004.
Possible NBA Team Future Expansion: Will There Be a New NBA Team
Las Vegas has emerged as a potential location in recent rumblings about the NBA expansion. Notably, basketball legends Shaquille O’Neal and LeBron James have expressed interest in being involved in building a Las Vegas team. Adding a team in Las Vegas would enhance the league’s entertainment appeal and solidify the city as a major sports destination.
Wrapping Things Up: What are the New NBA Teams?
The newest NBA team is the Charlotte Bobcats. Since the NBA was founded, numerous expansion drafts have seen the addition of new teams over the NBA expansion history. Existing teams get to protect eight players on their roster from the draft, and each team can only draft one player from each team.
We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here.