Posts Tagged ‘NBA Expansion’

NBA expansion always seems to be a trending topic near the end of every single season. The NBA has not added a new team since the Charlotte Bobcats organization back in 2004, but this has not stopped many from speculating what the future of the league is going to look like.

This past Thursday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver spoke to the media ahead of the start of the 2022 NBA Finals and one of the topics that was brought to his attention was the possibility of league expansion given rumors that Las Vegas and Seattle could be awarded with expansion franchises as soon as 2024 when the league’s media rights deal expires.

Silver made his intentions and that of the league very clear though, stating that these rumors are not true and that while at some point the league will expand, “it’s not at this moment that we are discussing it.”

Las Vegas has turned itself into more than just gambling and sports betting, as it has suddenly become a massive area with plenty of opportunities for investors and sports leagues. The NHL, WNBA and NFL all have successful franchises and with talks of the MLB possibly looking into moving a team to Las Vegas, the NBA could eventually follow suit.

NBA Summer League has been hosted by Las Vegas on the campus of UNLV since 2004 and with the success this has brought every single year to the area, Mayor Carolyn Goodman believes that the NBA will reach a deal with the city in the coming years to bring a new basketball franchise to Las Vegas.

“I really do believe NBA will be among the next,” Goodman told 13 Action News. “We certainly have the WNBA, that was why that was there, a sort of ‘let’s see how they do,’ and they’ve done remarkably well.”

Along with hosting Summer League in Las Vegas, Team USA basketball sets up their training camps and games there as well, giving the NBA more reason to add a Las Vegas team to their league.

At some point, the league is going to expand and as of right now, Las Vegas finds themselves in the driver’s seat to be awarded yet another professional sports franchise.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. has his sights set on NBA ownership.

The boxing legend revealed Monday that he’s been “working behind the scenes” on owning an NBA team, according to Sam Gordon of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“I’ve been talking to certain individuals for the last six months,” Mayweather said. “That’s something I’ve been working on behind the scenes, but I’ve never came out and publicly talked about that with the media.

“Me and my team have been working behind the scenes with the NBA. I can’t say exactly where, but I’m working on getting a team.”

Mayweather resides in Las Vegas, which has been rumored as a potential city for NBA expansion. Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has also expressed interest in owning an NBA team in Sin City.

Commissioner Adam Silver told reporters recently that the NBA isn’t currently discussing expansion but said it’s “invariable at some point the league will expand.”

LeBron James wants to see his dreams of owning an NBA franchise realized in Las Vegas.

Speaking on an upcoming episode of HBO’s “The Shop,” the Los Angeles Lakers star opened up about his desires for the next chapter of his career once his playing days conclude.

“Yeah, I wanna buy a team, for sure. … I want a team in Vegas,” James said.

The NBA currently has no concrete expansion plans in place. Commissioner Adam Silver recently denied a rumor that the 30-team league was considering Las Vegas and Seattle as candidates to host expansion franchises as soon as 2024.

James, who recently became the league’s first active player with an estimated net worth of $1 billion, previously opened up about his goal of owning an NBA franchise last season.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver shot down rumblings Thursday about potential league expansion.

“The talk of expansion after 2024 is not true. We are not discussing that at this time,” Silver told reporters ahead of Game 1 of The Finals between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors, per Spotrac’s Keith Smith.

A report last month by Portland-based columnist John Canzano said the NBA has Seattle and Las Vegas earmarked as candidates for expansion in 2024 when the league’s current media deal expires.

Despite denying the rumor, Silver provided a glimmer of hope for possible new franchises, saying that “it’s invariable at some point the league will expand.”

Seattle has long been rumored as a site for expansion and relocation ever since losing the SuperSonics franchise to Oklahoma City, which then became the Thunder.

Las Vegas has been given new franchises in the NHL, NFL, and WNBA within the last five years.

The NBA hasn’t added a new team since the Charlotte Hornets joined in 2004. The expansion fee for that sale was $300 million, a price estimated to have jumped to around $1 billion today.

The NBA has not added a new team in almost two decades, but the next round of expansion could be coming soon.

During an appearance on 93.3 KJR, longtime columnist John Canzano reported that Seattle and Las Vegas have “already been earmarked” for expansion by the NBA.

According to Canzano, the expansion is set to happen after the league’s current media rights deal expires in 2024.

Las Vegas and Seattle have long been rumored as NBA expansion targets. 

Sources told The Spun last summer that a number of teams that were considering relocating were also “looking fondly” at Sin City, but it seems like they won’t be able to move there, because the league is already planning on giving Vegas a team of its own.

As for Seattle, well, they haven’t had an NBA franchise since the Sonics left town, and it is long overdue that the fans in the Emerald City have a men’s professional basketball team to root for. 

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is “pretty optimistic” the city will once again be home to an NBA franchise following discussions with commissioner Adam Silver.

“It is very good news for the city of Seattle that (the NBA is) thinking of an expansion team,” Durkan told KING 5.

Silver spoke in December about the possibility of revisiting plans for expanding the league beyond 30 teams after the pandemic altered the NBA’s financial outlook. However, he admitted discussions are “certainly not to the point that expansion is on the front burner.”

Seattle has been without an NBA team since the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City following the 2007-08 campaign. That decision came on the heels of a drawn-out battle between then-Mayor Greg Nickels, team owner Clay Bennett, and late commissioner David Stern.

“I think (Silver) has said publicly that Seattle is at the top of the list,” Durkan added. “Look, if there’s basketball karma, we’ll get the Sonics. If there’s economics involved, we’ll get the Sonics. If there’s just smart, what’s the best city in America, we’ll get the Sonics. So, I’m pretty optimistic.”

After Bennett failed to secure public funding for the outdated KeyArena, the team was moved to Oklahoma City. A potential venue for the SuperSonics is no longer an issue, as the renovated KeyArena – now known as the Climate Pledge Arena – is set to open its doors by late summer to host NHL expansion side Seattle Kraken and the WNBA’s Seattle Storm.

Sports executive Tim Leiweke, whose Oak View Group was behind the Kraken, says an additional $50 million was spent on the $1-billion-plus Climate Pledge Arena to house an NBA franchise.

“This isn’t a new market,” Leiweke said. “This is a marketplace that has led the league in attendance.”

The introduction of an expansion team requires the approval of club owners, though Leiweke believes there’s enough pedigree in Seattle basketball and NBA executives with local roots to get the thumbs up.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has been linked with an expansion franchise in the city after purchasing the naming rights to the Climate Pledge Arena in June 2020 to bring attention to climate change threats. The arena vows to be the first zero-carbon one in the world. Bezos, however, has not publicly admitted any intention of becoming an owner of a team.

A Quebec group of prominent business people is looking to bring an NBA franchise to Montreal, even if the league has no immediate plans to expand.

“Although the NBA and its commissioner have made it clear to us they currently have no plans to expand the league, we have taken the decision to prepare for when expansion does take place because we believe it will take place,” Michael Fortier said at a press conference Wednesday, according to Global’s Kalina Laframboise.

The press conference came ahead of the Toronto Raptors‘ preseason trip to Montreal, where they defeated the Brooklyn Nets 118-91 Wednesday night.

Montreal ranks among North America’s 20 most populous metropolitan areas, but has only had one “big four” pro sports team since baseball’s Expos left in 2004.

Friday night’s Golden State WarriorsSacramento Kings preseason game will be the first NBA contest in Seattle since 2008, and it may be nearly another decade before the league considers an expansion team in the Emerald City.

Prospective Seattle ownership groups that have met with NBA officials were told expansion may not happen until 2025 at the earliest, sources told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. That could line up with the negotiation of a new league TV contract, with the current one expiring after the 2024-25 season.

The report comes days after the NHL went a step closer to placing a franchise in Seattle. That effort is being led by a group hoping to begin play in 2020 at a renovated version of the Sonics’ former home, Key Arena.

The NHL arena developments were not discussed at the fall NBA board of governors meeting, sources told Windhorst.

Beyond the expansion possibility, a franchise wishing to relocate could target Seattle. While ESPN reports that some lawyers believe there’s a lease window for the Memphis Grizzlies to leave Tennessee in 2021, owner Robert Pera has pledged to keep the team in Memphis.

The Sonics departed Seattle to become the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008 after former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz sold the team to Clay Bennett.

A new city has emerged as a possible site for NBA expansion.

One league executive told SEC Network’s Jarrett Sutton that Kansas City will inevitably be awarded a franchise, as it’s viewed as the NBA’s most valuable market for league expansion, alongside Seattle.

The Kings called Kansas City home from 1972 to 1985 before moving on to Sacramento. The city has an arena which opened in 2007 that can hold approximately 19,000 people. It’s currently going unused.

Meanwhile, conversations of an eventual return to Seattle do seem realistic, as the city is preparing an arena that is awaiting a franchise to fill the seats.

Seattle previously hosted the SuperSonics from 1967 to 2008. The franchise was relocated to Oklahoma City due to a lack of funding for a new stadium.

A move into Mexico City has also gained traction over the last year, with the NBA expected to place a G League franchise south of the border. It’s possible it will be used as a tester to gauge the plausibility of big-league expansion.

Basketball Hall of Famer Dan Issel has been named president of “NBA 2 Louisville,” an investment group seeking to bring an expansion team to Kentucky’s largest city.

“Commissioner (Adam) Silver said the NBA would be flattered that Louisville wanted a team,” Issel said, according to the Courier Journal’s Tim Sullivan. “He said right now there is no timetable for expansion. That will be their stance until they start accepting applications … if and when they accept applications, we want to be on the top of the pile.”

The NBA has not prioritized expansion, but there could be a market opening with Seattle filing NHL expansion papers this week after plans for a retrofitted arena were approved. The Pacific Northwest metropolis has been a candidate to bring a pro basketball team back since the Sonics left to become the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008.

Louisville has long been a college basketball hotbed thanks to the success of the Cardinals‘ program, prior to recent turmoil. Issel was a college standout at Kentucky and a star – and later coach of – the Denver Nuggets.