Early attempts at merger
From the very beginning, the ABA hoped to force a merger with the NBA, thus repeating the (AFL)'s successful effort to force a merger with the (NFL). According to The NBA Encyclopedia, ABA officials told prospective owners that they could get an ABA team for half of what it cost to get an NBA expansion team at the time. The upstart league's officials confidently predicted that if and when a merger occurred, any surviving owners would see their investment more than double.
In June 1970, only three years after the ABA began play, the NBA owners voted 13–4 to work toward a merger with the ABA. Seattle SuperSonics owner Sam Schulman, a member of the ABA–NBA merger committee in 1970, was so ardently eager to merge the leagues that he publicly announced that if the NBA did not accept the merger agreement worked out with the ABA, he would move the SuperSonics from the NBA to the ABA. Schulman also threatened to move his soon-to-be ABA team to Los Angeles to compete directly with the Lakers. The owners of the Dallas Chaparrals (now the NBA's San Antonio Spurs) were so confident of the impending merger that they suggested that the ABA hold off on scheduling and playing a regular season schedule for the 1971–72 season. After the 1970–71 season
Basketball Weekly wrote "The American basketball public is clamoring for a merger. So are the NBA and ABA owners, the two commissioners, and every college coach. The war is over. The Armistice will be signed soon". The two leagues continued merger discussions and plans through the early and mid-1970s.