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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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NBA Focused On Seattle, Las Vegas When It Comes To Expansion

  • The NBA will likely expand to 32 teams once its next set of media rights deals are completed.
  • Las Vegas and Seattle are by far and away the frontrunners to land new teams.
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that the NBA wants to expand beyond its current 30 franchises sooner than later.

During last season’s NBA Finals, league commissioner Adam Silver specifically mentioned Las Vegas and Seattle as two cities — among others — under consideration for expansion teams. He also said the NBA would shift its focus to expansion once its next set of media rights deals were completed — which could be as soon as mid-2024.

Las Vegas has added NFL, NHL, and WNBA teams in recent years as it becomes an epicenter for professional sports. The city is almost assuredly getting an MLB team in the A’s, as well, and next month, Formula 1 will race for the first time in Sin City. It’s not surprising that the NBA would want in on such a hot market.

Despite Las Vegas already boasting T-Mobile Arena — home to the Golden Knights and many UFC events — the Oak View Group hopes to lead a $10 billion development with an NBA arena as its centerpiece.

From an ownership perspective, LeBron James has long expressed his desire to be part of a Las Vegas ownership group, but may face stiff competition from Shaquille O’Neal, who says he wants a potential Vegas team all to himself.

In the Northwest, Seattle is more than ready to welcome a return of the NBA.

A second preseason game in Seattle in as many years is stoking speculation that the league is ready for a franchise again after the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City in 2008 and became the Thunder. The newly developed Climate Pledge Arena, currently home of the NHL’s Kraken and WNBA’s Storm, would be a logical fit for an expansion NBA team.

Beyond The Border

While league expansion is a priority for the league, so is growing internationally. 

The Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves tipped off the preseason in Abu Dhabi earlier this month as part of a multiyear deal with the UAE. The Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic will play a regular-season game in Mexico City on Nov. 9 — the NBA’s 32nd game in Mexico since 1992.

Also up for consideration: NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum says the league would consider playing a regular-season game at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, home of soccer giants Real Madrid.

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