Las Vegas Mayor Certain NBA Expansion Franchise is Headed to The Strip

Posted on: June 16, 2023, 09:37h. 

Last updated on: June 23, 2023, 05:49h.

Las Vegas owns the Stanley Cup. Now, the next goal for Vegas is owning an NBA team. Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, basking in the glow of the Las Vegas Golden Knights’ first NHL championship, told it’s just a matter of time before an NBA expansion franchise arrives in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Raiders and Athletics logos appear on a slot machine. Will a basketball franchise be next? Mayor Goodman thinks yes. (Image: Illustration)

Goodman figures the Vegas hockey title that riveted the desert expedites matters with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who hasn’t added a new NBA team during his tenure that started in 2014. The last expansion was in 2004, when the Charlotte Bobcats became the league’s 30th franchise.

If it happens, that could mean Las Vegas would have a pro sports team in all four major sports leagues, assuming the Oakland A’s get approval on a new Vegas stadium.

“Has Adam told you how often he hears from Mayor Caroline Goodman and before that Oscar, bending his ear on when are we getting a team?’’ Mayor Goodman told on Thursday. “He’ll tell you, yes, he hears us. Yes, he sees us.

“We are adamant – adamant that we’re next,’’ she added. “It’s not if, but when.’’

The Time is Now

Goodman, who has been mayor for the past 12 years after taking over for her husband Oscar, feels the time is now.

Silver said during the NBA Finals that no serious expansion talks will occur until a new television package is hammered out. That could happen in the spring, but not soon enough for Mayor Goodman.

He’s wasting time,’’ Goodman told “He’s really wasting time because we are electrified here. And it really is the perfect time for a franchise to come here. Our (NBA) summer league has proven itself. Even with Covid, they couldn’t wait to get back here for everything – our entertainment, food. Now in the major-league sports world, we’re worldwide known.’’

Mike Bass, an NBA spokesman, praised Vegas in a statement to

I can confirm that Mayor Goodman has indeed bent Commissioner Silver’s ear about Las Vegas having an NBA team,” Bass told “Las Vegas is a terrific basketball market, but expansion is not currently on our agenda.”

In their six seasons, the Golden Knights have made the Stanley Cup finals twice and copped their first title Tuesday over the Florida Panthers in a five-game domination. The parade is set for Saturday on the world-famous Strip.

“The glow from Las Vegas is as high as can be,’’ said Goodman, a Manhattan native. “They can see us in Japan, China, Alaska, and Greenland. Around the world, they are saying, “What is that brilliant light coming out of the Southwest of the USA.” We are hot.’’

Changing Times

Chances of an NBA expansion franchise coming to Sin City cooled after the 2007 All-Star Game in Vegas wrought havoc, and then-commissioner David Stern soured on the idea.

When he was alive, Stern had always been skeptical about Vegas, once telling former mayor Oscar Goodman he’ll get a team “over his dead body’’ as long as sports betting existed in the city.

As Stern started changing his view, the 2007 All-Star weekend turned chaotic.

More than 400 people were arrested. Bouncer Tommy Urbanski was reportedly shot and paralyzed from the waist down outside Minxx Gentleman’s Club by a member of an entourage that included former NFL star “Pacman” Jones.

In addition, the traffic congestion from The Strip to UNLV’s Thomas Mack Center caused 90-minute delays.

Now there’s a new commissioner in Silver and a new arena on The Strip – the Golden Knight’s home at  T-Mobile Center. In addition, Silver, as opposed to Stern, has always been a proponent of legalized sports gambling.

Mayor Goodman said the Vegas expansion became a dead issue more because of the 2008 recession than the 2007 shootings.

I can assure you Adam knows we’re drooling at the mouth for the past 24 years when Oscar ‘s first call went in, and Stern was (commissioner),’’ Goodman said. “We met him, and he was very respectful. Adam Silver was already being mentored. It’s only natural when David stepped aside (in 2014)  we continued meeting with (Silver), whether in New Orleans, New York, or at All-Star Games.’’

The Golden Knights have proven the model expansion franchise, while the Las Vegas Raiders, who enter their fourth season, have thrived.

The Goodmans have seen the city go from no sports teams to potentially a full boat, even attempting to lure a Major League Soccer team.

Vegas Success, Appeal

Mayor Goodman was a sports fanatic from her New York childhood. She attended Yankees games in the 1950s, Rangers, Knicks, and Globetrotters games at the old Madison Square Garden, and Columbia-Cornell football games.

While a new A’s stadium still has several hurdles to clear and is in the hands of the governor, Goodman sees an NBA franchise as perfect because of its global audience and the success of the annual NBA summer league for two weeks in July. The tournament features all 30 teams descending on the city to compete with their young prospects.

“Having 40 million visitors a year, they have to sleep somewhere,’’ Goodman said. “We have 150,000 hotel rooms 20 minutes from the airport, and we have so many direct flights coming into Vegas from around the world. You’re not getting that in many cities who don’t have an NBA team.”