The WNBA will officially take its next step toward team expansion on Thursday ahead of the WNBA Finals, which begin in Las Vegas on Sunday.
A Bay Area group led by Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob reportedly has a deal in place for a 13th WNBA franchise, while a new report on Wednesday notes that the Bay Area team would join the league in 2025.
It’s likely that the WNBA will eventually add a 14th team to give the league an even number, but it’s uncertain when such an announcement, or more news regarding further expansion, will come.
Expanding to multiple new markets by 2025 has been a stated goal of WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert. Now, the question is: Which locations beyond the Bay Area should earn a franchise?
A shortlist of cities the WNBA has been considering includes Nashville, Toronto, Austin, Charlotte, Philadelphia, and Denver. Of those, only Charlotte has previously been home to a WNBA team. However, Toronto, Philadelphia, and Denver all have long-standing NBA teams and could mimic the dual-ownership model reported to be crystallizing in the Bay Area.
The last team to join the NBA was the Atlanta Dream in 2008. Since then, the former San Antonio Stars relocated to Las Vegas to become the Aces, and the former Detroit Shock moved first to Tulsa and then Dallas, where they were renamed the Wings.