Las Vegas on Shortlist for Expansion Team: NBA Commissoner

Posted on: February 14, 2024, 03:58h. 

Last updated on: February 15, 2024, 12:05h.

Las Vegas’ hoop dreams dribbled closer to reality on Wednesday. That’s when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver stated that the region is “definitely on our list” of cities being considered for an expansion team.

Las Vegas sign
AI envisions the famous Las Vegas welcome sign as a basketball backboard. (Image: ChatGPT)

Vegas has been rumored to be in line for the honor many times before, with Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James repeatedly stating his desire to own the team that plays there.

But this statement from Silver, which he made to ESPN, is the clearest indication of actual NBA plans so far. It comes just days after something most sports analysts used to think could never happen — a Super Bowl going off in Las Vegas without a hitch.

Time Out?

Silver stopped short of offering a timetable for when Las Vegas could be added to the NBA’s current cluster of 30 clubs. He said the NBA needs to “figure out what our media relationships are going to look like” before any expansion talks can start.

The NBA’s current media deal still has a year left to go. And that’s after the current season ends this June.

L.A.-based developer the Oak View Group hopes to break ground this year on a $10 billion casino resort project. It features a $1 billion NBA-ready arena with 20,000 seats on 66 acres south of the Strip near the intersection of I-15 and I-215. This would be adjacent to the Las Vegas terminal for the planned Brightline high-speed rail between Las Vegas and Southern California.

Las Vegas already hosts the NBA’s primary summer league, and has hosted its All-Star weekend, semifinals, and finals. And within five years of relocating to Las Vegas in 2018, the Aces became the first WNBA team to win back-to-back championships in 20 years. The WNBA is the only women’s basketball league to receive the NBA’s full backing.

Other cities Silver has previously mentioned as possible expansion candidates include Nashville, Vancouver, and Montreal.

Expect plenty of questions about Las Vegas when Silver holds his annual All-Star weekend news conference on Saturday in Indianapolis.