NBA expansion rumors are back! As usual, Las Vegas is right in the middle.
Michael Grange of Sports Net, in a story about Masai Ujiri’s future in the NBA, wrote:
“It’s widely believed the NBA will expand for the first time since rounding out to 30 teams in 2004 partly to recoup losses from the pandemic. Returning to Seattle as part of the process is almost a given (with Las Vegas as the other likely city) now that the arena issues that led to the Supersonics leaving for Oklahoma City in 2008 have been resolved.”
Grange did not even cite a source, but he tossed out the possibility of expansion so casually, like it was a foregone conclusion.
Obviously it is not. The NBA has not started the process (at least publically). While Seattle clearly leads the way for NBA expansion, Las Vegas would need to figure out where the team would play and who would own the team.
All of those questions could be answered quickly if the NBA does officially announce expansion, but until then, all we will have are rumors.
But the idea that the NBA will expand to try and make back some revenue that was lost due to the pandemic is not new. Adam Silver wants more than $2.5 billion for expansion franchises, which would go directly to the owners of the 30 current NBA teams.
Grange mentioned a timeline as well, with a two-year minimum time period between a franchise being awarded to a city and that franchise actually playing games.
Bill Foley officially awarded an NHL franchise on June 22, 2016. The Vegas Golden Knights began play in the fall of 2017. So it is possible to get a brand new franchise up and running quickly, especially if the arena is already built.