While stressing that his league is not actively pursuing expansion or relocation for any of its 30 current franchises, Silver has described Mexico City as a natural contender for an eventual N.B.A. team on numerous occasions this year.
Like most professional sports leagues, the N.B.A. is eager to expand its reach internationally to tap into new fan bases and revenue streams. The N.F.L. and Major League Baseball have also held regular-season games abroad and have long flirted with the idea of placing a team outside the United States and Canada. Mexico is believed to be particularly enticing to the N.B.A. because of its proximity; putting a team in Europe, for example, would present onerous travel and scheduling issues.
The Brooklyn Nets are playing two “home” games at the Mexico City Arena this week: Thursday night against Oklahoma City and Saturday night against Miami. Those games are the centerpiece of the N.B.A.’s 25th anniversary celebration of its first exhibition game in Mexico in 1992 and the 20th anniversary of its first regular-season game here (Dec. 6, 1997).
The N.B.A. G League is scheduled to have franchises owned or directly affiliated with 27 N.B.A. teams next season as it continues to work toward its long-stated “30 for 30” goal, which calls for every N.B.A. franchise to have a direct affiliate in the developmental league.
The Mexico City franchise is likely to begin operations before the G League reaches 30 N.B.A.-owned franchises, but would be owned and operated separate from the N.B.A.
The N.B.A. also planned Thursday to announce a basketball development and training academy in Mexico City, which would be its seventh such academy globally. The N.B.A. Academies project is designed to provide teenagers worldwide with top-level coaching, facilities and competition and has already spawned training centers in China (three), Australia, India and Senegal.