If expansion is on the horizon for the NBA, could Montreal be a potential home for a future franchise?
Ahead of the municipal election on Sunday, Nov. 7, Montreal mayoral candidate Balarama Holness of the newly created Mouvement Montréal banner has aspirations to make the city a candidate for an NBA franchise, the Montreal Gazette reported.
In a statement shared with the publication, Holness called Montreal "the perfect destination for a new NBA team."
Since the inception of the "NBA Canada Series" in 2012, Montreal's Bell Center has hosted five preseason contests, most recently serving as the site for a meeting between the Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets on Oct. 10, 2018.
In addition to hosting several preseason contests, the growth of basketball in Montreal is evidenced by the presence of NBA talents that call the city home. Toronto Raptors forwards Khem Birch and Chris Boucher are Montreal natives, as is Oklahoma City Thunder guard, Luguentz Dort.
NBA Academy alumni Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona) and Olivier Maxence-Prosper (Marquette) also hail from Montreal and received scholarships to play Division I basketball at a high-major level.
Holness added that "as a large international metropolis with one of the world's most culturally and linguistically diverse populations, Montreal is perfectly suited to take its place among the NBA cities of North America, and for its name to shine further in front of a global audience."
With respect to potential expansion in the NBA, commissioner Adam Silver said "I think at some point it will make sense to expand, but it's just not at the top of the agenda right now," during his state of the NBA address ahead of Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals on July 6.
There are a number of major North American cities that will look to be in the running if and when the NBA does decide to expand beyond 30 teams, and now it appears that Montreal will look to put its name into consideration.
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