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Adam Silver: Las Vegas is ‘definitely on our list’ for expansion

Adam Silver Las Vegas NBA
Could the NBA expand to Las Vegas? Adam Silver says it’s a possibility. (Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports)

Adam Silver: Las Vegas is ‘definitely on our list’ for expansion

In general, basketball players may not be as fundamentally sound as they once were, but it’s no secret that there’s a current talent influx at the NBA level. With a new TV deal expected to arrive in the fall of 2025, the league will have its pockets filled with cash–so much so that it won’t quite know what to do with it.

That’s where expansion factors in. The last time the NBA expanded was in 2004, when it brought in the Charlotte Bobcats, now formally known as the Charlotte Hornets. The NBA introduced six additional franchises–the Charlotte Hornets (1988; moved to New Orleans after 2002-03), Miami Heat (1988), Minnesota Timberwolves (1989), Orlando Magic (1989), Toronto Raptors (1995) and Vancouver Grizzlies (1995; moved to Memphis after 2000-01).

Once the TV rights deal is settled, the league could expand again. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Wednesday that Las Vegas, a growing professional sports market, is “definitely on our list” of possible destinations.

“We want to figure out what our media relationships are going to look like, but then we will turn to expansion,” Silver said Wednesday on the Pat McAfee Show.

The city does business with the NBA during the summer. Las Vegas is the annual host of the NBA Summer League over a two-week timeframe in July. The city also hosts myriad college basketball conference tournaments in March and will be the host of the men’s Final Four in 2027-28–so it has the resources to host an NBA Franchise.

After all, Las Vegas now has the Golden Knights, Raiders, Aces (WNBA) and could have the Athletics as soon as 2028.

The biggest roadblock might be funding–Allegiant Stadium and the Athletics’ new stadium will cost a combined $2.9 billion with roughly $1.13 billion in public funding. A teacher’s union political group is already suing the state of Nevada for the allocation of the public’s taxpayer dollars in relation to these stadiums.

Perhaps a move to Las Vegas wouldn’t require any public funding–like it didn’t for the Golden Knights’ T-Mobile Arena, which was funded entirely by MGM Resorts International and Anschutz Entertainment Group. Or this new franchise could share an arena with the Aces–the NBA season lasts from Oct.-June, while the WNBA Season is from May-Oct.– or the Knights. 

Las Vegas won’t be the only place looked upon for NBA expansion: Seattle (likely frontrunner), Nashville, Vancouver and Mexico City could be other considered destinations. 

This isn’t the first time that Silver had comments related to expansion–especially in Las Vegas. Here’s what he said in early December to Justin Termine and Eddie Johnson on SiriusXM NBA Radio:

“What we said, over the last few years, there are two things that we wanted to see happen first before we turned to expansion,” Silver said. “One was we wanted to get a new collective bargaining agreement done. We did that, and we have now labor peace and I think a very strong agreement for both the teams and the players in place till 2030. The other thing we said we wanted to get done is our new media deals.

“You know, we don’t have to wait till the end of the second season to get those done, but once we do, we’ll turn back to expansion, or turn to expansion. And again, I made no secret out of it. Las Vegas is one of those markets we’re gonna look to. I know that the fans in Seattle have wanted us to get back there forever. 

“No commitments, you know, to anyone. But we’ll certainly be looking at those two markets … I think it’s sort of part of any organization you wanna grow over time. … I think we could potentially add two more teams to this league that could be very competitive.”


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