NBA Timeline & Abbreviations

start with the 1946-47 season teams: 
Boston CelticsPittsburgh Ironmen
Chicago StagsProvidence Steamrollers
Cleveland RebelsSt Louis Bombers
Detroit FalconsToronto Huskies
New York KnickerbockersWashington Capitols
Philadelphia Warriors 
1947-48Cleveland Rebels and Detroit Falcons left league
1947-48Toronto Huskies and Pittsburgh Ironmen left league
1947-48Baltimore Bullets began play
1947-48Washington Capitols switched divisions
1948-49Ft Wayne Pistons (NBL) and Indianapolis Jets began play
1948-49Minneapolis Lakers (ABA) and Rochester Royals began play
1948-49Washington Capitols and Baltimore Bullets switched divisions
1949-50Indianapolis Jets and Providence Steamrollers left league
1949-50Anderson Packers and Denver Nuggets began play
1949-50Indianapolis Olympians and Sheboygan Redskins began play
1949-50Syracuse Nationals (NBL) and Tri-Cities Blackhawks (NBL) began play
1949-50Waterloo Hawks began play
1949-50League switched to 3 divisions
1950-51Anderson Packers and Denver Nuggets left league (NBL)
1950-51Sheboygan Redskins and Waterloo Hawks left league (NBL)
1950-51Washington Capitols disbanded during the season
1950-51Chicago Stags and St Louis Bombers disbanded
1950-51League switched to 2 divisions
1951-52Tri-Cities Blackhawks became Milwaukee Hawks
1953-54Indianapolis Olympians left league
1954-55Baltimore Bullets disbanded during the season
1955-5624-second shot clock introduced
1955-56Milwaukee Hawks became St Louis Hawks
1957-58Rochester Royals became Cincinnati Royals
1957-58Ft Wayne Pistons became Detroit Pistons
1960-61Minneapolis Lakers became Los Angeles Lakers
1961-62Chicago Packers began play
1962-63Chicago Packers became Chicago Zephyrs
1962-63Philadelphia Warriors became San Francisco Warriors
1962-63Cincinnati Royals and San Francisco Warriors switched divisions
1963-64Chicago Zephyrs became Baltimore Bullets
1963-64Syracuse Nationals became Philadelphia 76ers
1966-67Chicago Bulls began play
1966-67Baltimore Bullets switched divisions
1967-68Regular season became 82 games
1967-68San Diego Rockets and Seattle SuperSonics began play
1967-68Detroit Pistons switched divisions
1968-69Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns began play
1968-69St Louis Hawks became Atlanta Hawks
1970-71Buffalo Braves and Cleveland Cavaliers began play
1970-71Portland TrailBlazers began play
1970-71League split into two conferences and four divisions
1971-72San Diego Rockets became Houston Rockets
1971-72San Francisco Warriors became Golden State Warriors
1972-73Cincinnati Royals became KC-Omaha Kings
1972-73Kansas City, Houston, and Phoenix rotated divisions
1973-74Baltimore Bullets became Capital Bullets
1974-75New Orleans Jazz began play
1974-75Capital Bullets became Washington Bullets
1975-76KC-Omaha Kings became Kansas City Kings
1976-77Denver Nuggets and Indiana Pacers began play (moved from ABA)
1976-77New York Nets and San Antonio Spurs began play (moved from ABA)
1977-78New York Nets became New Jersey Nets
1978-79Buffalo Braves became San Diego Clippers
1978-79Detroit, San Diego, and Was Bullets rotated divisions
1979-803-point shot was introduced
1979-80New Orleans Jazz became Utah Jazz
1979-80Utah Jazz moved to Midwest Division
1979-80Indiana Pacers moved to Central Division
1980-81Dallas Mavericks began play
1980-81Chicago and Milwaukee switched divisions with Houston and San Antonio
1984-85San Diego Clippers became Los Angeles Clippers
1985-86Kansas City Kings became Sacramento Kings
1988-89Charlotte Hornets (Atlantic) and Miami Heat (Midwest) began play
1988-89Sacramento Kings moved to Pacific Division
1989-90Minnesota Timberwolves (Midwest) & Orlando Magic (Central) began play
1989-90Miami Heat moved to Atlantic Division
1989-90Charlotte Hornets moved to Midwest Division
1990-91Orlando Magic moved to Midwest Division
1990-91Charlotte Hornets moved to Central Division
1991-92Orlando Magic moved to Atlantic Division
1995-96Toronto Raptors (Central), Vancouver Grizzlies (Midwest) began play
1997-98Washington Bullets became Washington Wizards
2001-02Vancouver Grizzlies became Memphis Grizzlies
2002-03Charlotte Hornets became New Orleans Hornets
2002-03First round of playoffs became a best-of-seven
2004-05Charlotte Bobcats (Southeast) began play
2004-05League split into six divisions
2004-05New Orleans Hornets moved to Western Conference
2005-06New Orleans Hornets became New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets
2007-08New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets became New Orleans Hornets
2008-09Seattle Supersonics became Oklahoma City Thunder
2012-13New Jersey Nets became Brooklyn Nets
2013-14New Orleans Hornets became New Orleans Pelicans
2014-15Charlotte Bobcats became Charlotte Hornets
List of abbreviations used in other pages:
Atlanta AtlAtlanta Hawks (1968-69 - present)
Anderson AndAnderson Packers (1949-50)
Bal Bullets BlBBaltimore Bullets (1st team) (1947-48 - 1953-54)
Baltimore BalBaltimore Bullets (2nd team) (1963-64 - 1972-73)
Boston BosBoston Celtics (1946-47 - present)
Brooklyn BknBrooklyn Nets (2012-13 - present)
Buffalo BufBuffalo Braves (1970-71 - 1977-78)
Capital CapCapital Bullets (1973-74)
Charlotte ChaCharlotte Hornets (1988-89 - 2001-02, 2014-15 - present)
Cha Bobcats ChBCharlotte Bobcats (2004-05 - 2013-14)
Chicago ChiChicago Bulls (1966-67 - present)
Chi Packers ChPChicago Packers (1961-62)
Chi Stags ChSChicago Stags (1946-47 - 1949-50)
Chi Zephyrs ChZChicago Zephyrs (1962-63)
Cincinnati CinCincinnati Royals (1957-58 - 1971-72)
Cleveland CleCleveland Cavaliers (1970-71 - present)
Cle Rebels ClRCleveland Rebels (1946-47)
Dallas DalDallas Mavericks (1980-81 - present)
Den Nuggets DnNDenver Nuggets (1st team) (1949-50)
Denver DenDenver Nuggets (2nd team) (1976-77 - present)
Det Falcons DtFDetroit Falcons (1946-47)
Detroit DetDetroit Pistons (1957-58 - present)
Ft Wayne FtWFt Wayne Pistons (1948-49 - 1956-57)
Golden State GS Golden State Warriors (1971-72 - present)
Houston HouHouston Rockets (1971-72 - present)
Indiana IndIndiana Pacers (1976-77 - present)
Ind Jets InJIndianapolis Jets (1948-49)
Ind OlympiansInOIndianapolis Olympians (1949-50 - 1952-53)
Kansas City KC Kansas City Kings (1975-76 - 1984-85)
KC-Omaha KCOKC-Omaha Kings (1972-73 - 1974-75)
LA Clippers LACLos Angeles Clippers (1984-85 - present)
LA Lakers LALLos Angeles Lakers (1960-61 - present)
Memphis MemMemphis Grizzlies (2001-02 - present)
Miami MiaMiami Heat (1988-89 - present)
Mil Hawks MlHMilwaukee Hawks (1951-52 - 1954-55)
Milwaukee MilMilwaukee Bucks (1968-69 - present)
Minneapolis MnLMinneapolis Lakers (1948-49 - 1959-60)
Minnesota MinMinnesota Timberwolves (1989-90 - present)
New Jersey NJ New Jersey Nets (1977-78 - 2011-12)
NO Hornets NOHNew Orleans Hornets (2002-03 - 2004-05, 2007-08 - 2012-13)
NO Jazz NOJNew Orleans Jazz (1974-75 - 1978-79)
New Orleans NO New Orleans Pelicans (2013-14 - present)
New Orl/OkC NOkNew Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets (2005-06 - 2006-07)
New York NY New York Knick(erbocker)s (1946-47 - present)
NY Nets NYNNew York Nets (1976-77)
Oklahoma CityOkCOklahoma City (2008-09 - present)
Orlando OrlOrlando Magic (1989-90 - present)
Phi Warriors PhWPhiladelphia Warriors (1946-47 - 1961-62)
Philadelphia PhiPhiladelphia 76ers (1963-64 - present)
Phoenix PhxPhoenix Suns (1968-69 - present)
Pittsburgh PitPittsburgh Ironmen (1946-47)
Portland PorPortland TrailBlazers (1970-71 - present)
Providence ProProvidence Steamrollers (1946-47 - 1948-49)
Rochester RocRochester Royals (1948-49 - 1956-57)
Sacramento SacSacramento Kings (1985-86 - present)
San Antonio SA San Antonio Spurs (1976-77 - present)
San Diego SD San Diego Clippers (1978-79 - 1983-84)
San FranciscoSF San Francisco Warriors (1962-63 - 1970-71)
SD Rockets SDRSan Diego Rockets (1967-68 - 1970-71)
Seattle SeaSeattle SuperSonics (1967-68 - 2007-08)
Sheboygan SheSheboygan Redskins (1949-50)
StL Bombers StBSt Louis Bombers (1946-47 - 1949-50)
St Louis StLSt Louis Hawks (1955-56 - 1967-68)
Syracuse SyrSyracuse Nationals (1949-50 - 1962-63)
Tor Huskies TrHToronto Huskies (1946-47)
Toronto TorToronto Raptors (1995-96 - present)
Tri-Cities TriTri-Cities Blackhawks (1949-50 - 1950-51)
Utah UtaUtah Jazz (1979-80 - present)
Vancouver VanVancouver Grizzlies (1995-96 - 2000-01)
Was Capitols WsCWashington Capitols (1946-47 - 1949-50)
Was Bullets WsBWashington Bullets (1974-75 - 1996-97)
Washington WshWashington Wizards (1997-98 - present)
Waterloo WatWaterloo Hawks (1949-50)