Contraction is a hot button issue in the NBA, not because it is the best option for the league but because it gives NBA Commissioner David Stern and his owners the best leverage in negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement. However, it seems that a massive relocation effort by the NBA may be the best way to help this league thrive. It is also likely the best way for the NBA to fix its business model and get more of their franchises turning a profit. The first place the NBA should be looking is Seattle, Washington. They already have a strong NBA fan base, but need a modern arena to make a franchise there viable.
I apologize but I am going to have to bore everyone with a lot of business like economical talk. According to the eye on Basketball blog, a NBA team needs 34.2 billion dollars in total TPI (the amount of income earned by all of the market residents) to be viable. Their study reveals that no less than 22 markets in the Untied States and Canada fit that bill. Of course the economics of sports these days require sports stadiums to have plenty of luxury suites, and expensive corporate seats to make a profit. So any city wanting an NBA franchise would likely have to foot some of the bill for new stadium construction.
I also think that modern sports leagues focus too much on TV market size. Think about this, since the NFL left Los Angeles the biggest TV market in North America all they have done is become the most successful sports league on the continent if not the world. The Untied Football League has also proved that smaller TV markets are viable and can support a pro team. The caveat there is if the league has the money to spend on local marketing. The Oklahoma City Thunder, of the NBA, has also been very successful in a smaller TV market, last year they ranked 13th in total attendance.
So if there are 22 viable markets, and of course those 22 could be whittled down to 5-6 really viable options the NBA could, with a little work, relocate some of its failing franchises to give them a real chance at financial success.