It is a little harder to argue for contraction in the NBA where the attendance figures for all 30 teams do not have as wide a margin as they do say in the NHL. Using last season’s attendance figures the Chicago Bulls drew 849,760 fans or 20,725 on average. The New Jersey Nets who were last in attendance drew 537,230 fans or 13,103 per home game. In the NHL the Chicago Blackhawks drew 854,267 fans or 21,267 on average to lead the league. The Phoenix Coyotes came in last with 491, 558 total attendance or 11,989 on average.
So the attendance gap isn’t as wide in the NBA, and the last place team will soon have a new home in NYC and that will surely boost attendance figures. However poor management of both the New York Knicks and Minnesota Timberwolves through the scale the other way. I think 30 NBA teams could draw ok if they could weed out the bad management of a number of teams.
Since that is very unlikely to happen the argument for contraction becomes a lot stronger. I mean the NBA has a franchise in Memphis and that just seems incredible to me. On top of that some of the attendance issues come in from owners charging premiums for seats for one night customers to see the premier match ups. Some people have to buy NBA D league or even NHL tickets to see the Heat, Celtics, and Lakers play in their own building. So the argument gets watered down a bit.
Since the Pistons, 76ers, Raptors and Warriors aren’t great match ups we can argue that their presence in other cities is a deterrent to buying an NBA ticket. With that in mind the contraction argument becomes even stronger. On top of that guys like Joel Anthony, Donte Green, and Reggie Evans were NBA opening night starters. Mind you not mid season replacements, opening day starts and I am willing to be most of you have no idea who these guys are. So yes the NBA should consider contraction in some form.