Kansas City, Las Vegas May Battle For Expansion Team

Seattle is considered a lock whenever the NBA decides to expand, and Kansas City and Las Vegas could be fighting for the other new franchise, according to Jabari Young of CNBC. Young breaks down the assets that each city could offer and notes that finding billionaires to finance the bids will be crucial.

Commissioner Adam Silver discussed the possibility of expansion at a press conference in December, but said it’s “not on the front burner.” The NBA isn’t expected to consider adding teams until after the 2021/22 season at the earliest.

Former Grizzlies president Andy Dolich, who helped move the team from Vancouver to Memphis, believes the league will try to create a “horse race” among cities leading up to expansion. He says the components the NBA is looking for can be described as A-B-C-D.

“The A is avidity: the market you’re picking has to be an avid sports market,” Dolich said. “The B is simple: Who is your billionaire? If you don’t have your billionaire, you don’t have anything. The C is the community: the elected officials, the leading businesses who are going to support you and the fan base. The D (destination) is where are you playing? The NBA is not playing in yesterday’s arena. Those are the four key parts.”

As the former home of the Kings, Kansas City already has an NBA history, Young notes, and Mayor Quinton Lucas gained the league’s attention when he offered to serve as a temporary location for the Raptors. The 19,000-seat T-Mobile Center is already in place to house an expansion franchise, but there’s no obvious person to bid for the team.

“I just don’t know who would be the owner, at least locally,” said Kathy Nelson, CEO of the Kansas City Sports Commission. “Financially, what does that ownership team look like? That’s the billionaire-dollar question. It’s not a million dollar. It’s a billion dollars.”

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is a minority owner of baseball’s Kansas City Royals and may be willing to get involved with an NBA team. Nelson’s committee has identified other potential investors, but no one has been pegged as a majority stakeholder.

That’s also a concern with Las Vegas, Young adds. The city already has a WNBA franchise and an established relationship with the NBA as host of the Summer League. There’s a 20,000-seat arena that serves as the home of the NHL’s Golden Knights.

However, there are concerns about Las Vegas because so much of the city’s economy depends on tourism. That has taken a hit due to COVID-19, and the NBA isn’t sure if a franchise can survive there if the tourism decline drags on.

“It just reinforces the importance of the ownership,” said Patrick Rishe, sports business director at Washington University in St. Louis. “You’re going to need a very strong ownership group. The market that has the most financially viable ownership group, that will trump any other consideration.”

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66 thoughts on “Kansas City, Las Vegas May Battle For Expansion Team

  1. bumpy93

    living here in Baltimore it would be nice if Baltimore would be able to get a team but I’m sure with the wizards 30 mi to the South and the 76ers about a hundred miles to the north there’s no way to NBA would be coming here. I was even thought about Pittsburgh at one point. Seattle is obvious that they will get a team if they don’t have a team relocate before there is expansion and between Las Vegas and Kansas City, I think Las Vegas might have the best chance. now you do know there will be many people you know voting for Canada to get another team to go with the raptors and if they did go with another Canadian team which I hope they don’t it would have to be toward western Canada like when they had the Vancouver grizzlies. only other major cities in Canada toward the west would be Vancouver itself Edmonton Calgary I believe Winnipeg is more to the middle while both Montreal and Ottawa are Eastern. another city that I completely forgot, St Louis they were the finalists for the Vancouver grizzlies. it came down to St Louis and Memphis if I remember correctly

    • newera36

      I’m also in Baltimore and I’d love to have a team but like you mentioned with DC and Philly so close I doubt it ever happens. What you didn’t mention is that our arena is a dump and that eliminates us more than the close proximity to other cities with teams.

  2. Where is Vegas going to get the money to build a stadium? With the down turn in revenue from the raider deal now all of Vegas property owners must pay for the new stadium. They will pay over a $1000 per property owner in Vegas just for the Raider’s stadium. I doubt they want to pay for another stadium.

    • hereallnight

      A hypothetical Vegas-based NBA team would share T-Mobile Arena with the Golden Knights.

  3. DeathbyDeathwest

    Well, Vegas certainly brings the D, so you know they have their share of B’s who control the C.

    It’s the A that will make for great tv.

  4. washington_bonercats

    Hard to imagine lack of tourism being an actual concern as expansion surely won’t even be brought up until after the pandemic has ended, if the day ever comes

  5. El Don

    Seattle for sure, crying shame they ever lost their team!
    The other team should be between San Diego or the wild card should be San Juan, that would be the smartest decision from the league, it really would open up the latino market which accounts for like over 800 million souls & who doesn’t wanna play or visit the Caribbean for a game, seriously!
    Best choice ever, make no mistake ’bout it!

    • Appalachian_Outlaw

      California doesn’t need yet another NBA franchise. They already have enough for nearly an entire division by themselves.

      I also don’t see San Juan as a viable option. For starters, who is your billionaire? Where are they playing? Just can’t see it.

    • California already has four teams. And San Juan would be cool but will never happen.

  6. Very Barry

    NO EXPANSION!!!! The talent level in the NBA is already way, way watered down. The LAST thing that is needed is more teams to further dilute the talent pool. Expansion talk is just stupid! 80% of the teams in the NBA are already BAD. Guys play hard the first week of the season, and then Christmas Day and then it is I will see you in the playoffs.

    • Appalachian_Outlaw

      I disagree. Every club doesn’t need to be Championship caliber to be viable.

      • Very Barry

        More teams ARE NOT needed to further dilute the talent pool and make the NBA Regular Season even more unwatchable than what it is right now.

          • Very Barry

            What would I do instead of expansion??? … That’s easy ….. I would get rid of 4 or 5 teams. Then we would begin to have stronger teams, better competition and a regular season that actually meant something with games that matter.

            • Little_Dunker_45

              They’re not doing expansion for kicks they’re doing it because they need money. Getting rid of teams does not fix that problem. Increasing competitiveness of NBA will not bring in the money they need in short term. So I think we’re stuck with expansion bud, sorry to break it to you.

              • Very Barry

                They don’t NEED money! It is called greed. Decades of absolutely crazy profits. Franchises worth billions and after one bad year everybody is broke? Expansion doesn’t actually bring in money. The NBA will charge the new franchises a couple of billion dollars to join and not share in profits for first two years. After that you are then splitting the pie 34 ways instead of 32 with the added franchises. Less money to go around for everyone. The franchise fee basically amounts to a loan. Ask Mark Cuban. This is his view.

                • Little_Dunker_45

                  You have no idea what you’re talking about so I’ll stop engaging

            • Appalachian_Outlaw

              So you’re going to alienate fans in 4 to 5 markets when the ENTIRE reason they’re considering expansion is revenue, all so the regular season will be more entertaining for YOU? As a fan of a team I’m sure you’d probably consider cutting, I can tell you I’d be done with your NBA.

              Once again, you don’t need a potential NBA finals preview every night to make a game exciting. For some of us we just enjoy watching our team. You want to take that from 4 to 5 fanbases? Man, the level of selfishness.

            • Marty McRae

              @Very Barry

              There’s like 200 NBA-quality players in the NBA not in the NBA at all times, worldwide. The fact that you chose to ignore is how much the sport is growing worldwide, which is rooted in personal racism.

              Go away forever, weak take machine!

              • brian214

                Wow, you actually brought race into it. Good job! How about politics, you think you could squeeze that into the conversation as well?

    • hiflew

      The talent pool is not that diluted. There are enough players to fill 29 G League teams + countless pro leagues in other countries plus all of the high school and college players that enter the pros each year. There is plenty of talent to support 15 new teams if they chose.
      What there isn’t is enough talent for there to be 32 super teams like Brooklyn or the Lakers with multiple All Stars. That is the problem. Kyrie Irving should not be 3rd best player on a team. Anthony Davis should not be the 2nd best player on a team. James Harden should not be the 2nd best player on a team. THAT is the problem.

      • Very Barry

        Why shouldn’t James Harden be the 2nd best player on a team, or Anthony Davis??? The OKC franchise drafted Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and James Harden in consecutive drafts.

      • Little_Dunker_45

        So is there plenty of talent to go around or not? You seem to be arguing both ways. Not enough “great” talent to go around? Being a super team doesn’t guarantee a title.

        And saying AD should not be 2nd best player on a team…that just bias lol each team can only have 1 superstar? Give me a BREAK

        • hiflew

          Both. There is plenty of talent for 32 teams, but not enough for it to be clustered among 5-6 teams.

          I don’t think you have a clue what the word bias means. I’m not saying to break up the Nets or Lakers. I am saying that Anthony Davis is good enough for a team to be built around him and James Harden is good enough for a team to be built around him. It would be better for the NBA AS A WHOLE for the best 30 players to have 30 teams built around them. Clustering stars should only happen at the All Star Game.

          • Little_Dunker_45

            Okay and what if a rookie develops into a superstar? If Wiseman keeps playing well should Golden State be forced to trade him because Curry is already a superstar? What if LeBron gets injured, then they can invite AD back?

            Bias is when you want things your way SO badly you fail to acknowledge the basic facts stacked against it.

            • hiflew

              Where are you getting forced trades from anywhere? I am advocating communism in the NBA. I am suggesting that there are enough “franchise players” to support an additional 2 teams, if not several more. I am just stunned as to why you are getting so defensive with the idea.

              Since you seem to know what bias means, maybe explain to me how it applies to this situation. Na, forget it, I don’t really care what you think on the subject anymore. Have a nice day,

            • x%sure

              Dunker, star dispersion control is already attempted by salary caps, not by forced trades. But the cap is so soft that the system doesn’t work very well.
              It has allowed a team as many as four max-type salaries… GSW fans were pushing for a fifth!
              Only a partial dispersion is probably possible… the system could be improved but not by much IMO

              • Little_Dunker_45

                Exactly, the cap exists to try and promote this, but people will always find a way around.

                You can “advocate” for communism all you want, but there is no practical way to enforce it, as it’s impossible to objectively rate players with accuracy, or account for players getting better, injuries, age, etc. year over year.

    • AndrewEB

      Collegiate basketball and football players have a less than 2% chance of entering the major leagues. What are you talking about?

  7. Appalachian_Outlaw

    It should be Las Vegas and Seattle, with a Western team in Memphis, Minnesota or N.O. moving East.

    • hiflew

      It should be Minnesota moving East because of the 3, they are the furthest apart geographically. They belong in a division with Milwaukee, Toronto, and Detroit. That division could pair with 4 teams of Chicago, Indiana, Cleveland, and Washington. South of Miami, Atlanta, Orlando, Charlotte. Northeast of Boston, NY, Brooklyn, Philly

      If you made KC the new team instead of Vegas, you could have a 4 team division of KC, NO, Memphis, and OKC to pair with SA, Houston, Dallas, Denver. With Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, GS in a northwest and LAL, LAC, Phoenix, Utah in a southwest.

      Not perfect, but far better than right now.

      • mgomrjsurf

        Southeast Magic,Heat,Hawks,Hornets. Atlantic Bobcats,Wizards,76ers. Northeast Celtics,Knicks,Nets,Raptors. Centraleast Pacers,Pistons,Cavs. Northcentral Timberwolves,Bucks,Bulls. Midwest Nuggets,KC,Thunder,Grizzles. Texas Mavs,Spurs,Rockets. West Suns,Jazz,Trailblazers,Seattle. California Lakers,Clippers,Kings,Warriors.

        • hiflew

          Bobcats? The Bobcats are now the Hornets and the Hornets are now the Pelicans. I didn’t think we had the technology to post 6 years in the future in 2014. Oh well, here’s a tip be prepared for a strange presidency in 2016.

          Seriously though, why would you choose to have 9 divisions in a 32 team league?

            • hiflew

              Sorry for being a smart a**, but I thrive on low hanging fruit.

              Anyway, I think New Orleans fits in better geographically with the Texas teams than with the Florida teams. Works better time wise as well because they are in the Central time zone. That is one thing East Coasters and West Coasters always forget. The people in the Central and Mountain time zones always have to adjust their schedules so the coasts can be at the perfect time. At the very least, they should keep the Central time zones together just so game start times for divisional games begin at the same time.

              I am in the Eastern time zone and MLB considers the Cincinnati Reds my “home team” when it comes to viewing. The Reds division consists of two teams in the Eastern zone (Cincy and Pitt) and 3 in the Central zone (Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis) which means the home games and the road Pitt games all start at 7 PM and are over by 10. While the other road games start at 8PM and end at 11. It really gets annoying trying to plan a viewing schedule.

              I know there are far fewer NBA games played within the division than in MLB, but game start times are a big deal.

            • Appalachian_Outlaw

              When did they move New Orleans closer to DC than Charlotte? Did some plates shift or something? I’m so confused.

              And why do a few divisions only have 3 teams?

              How are you dividing 9 divisions into 2 conferences fairly?

              I have so many questions.

              • hiflew

                As for the first question, I took it that he meant the current Charlotte team when he wrote Bobcats and the current NO team when he wrote Hornets.

                As for the rest, I am just as flummoxed as you.

    • AndrewEB

      I just want Memphis to change their NBA name, there is no grizzlies in Tennessee xD

  8. Little_Dunker_45

    What about Hartford, CT. Don’t hear them mentioned much. I’m sure there is some insurance billionaire, basketball is popular, they have an arena, and lot of college basketball history that will attract young stars.

  9. BloodFarts

    The NBA needs to contract not expand. 26 teams makes for the best quality of play.

  10. dylan1g

    I’m assuming if Las Vegas or another city in on the West Coast is chosen over Kansas City or another East Coast city, along with Seattle which seems to be a lock, the NBA will request for either the Grizzlies, (most likey), the Pelicans, or even less likely, but of on the teams in Texas to move to the Eastern Conference to keep the number of teams in each conference balanced.

      • AndrewEB

        It is probably safe to say that the Grizzlies and the Pelicans would move to the Eastern conference, as both teams are east of the Mississippi River.

      • dylan1g

        That’s true, but for the sake of simplicity instead of making two teams move to the East, the NBA would only have to make one if they made the KC team in the East.

  11. The Howler

    Drop the divisions and just have conference standings…it is all that matters anyway.

    Better schedule that increases parity. Each team plays the others home and away…that is 62 games. The top 8 teams from the previous season play home and away…the next 8 play each other and so forth. That is 14 more games. That leaves 6 games that could be used to play teams that are regionally close to each other e.g., Milwaukee could play Chi, Det, Min, Ind, Bos, and Phi. These would not need to be home and away.

    • I have to imagine that would be unpopular with the teams. Remember – divisions means that more teams can trumpet themselves as a Champion.

  12. x%sure

    This is about the third article on expansion recently, and so far as I know, I’m the only poster for Seattle & Kansas City. I may have said it would be called Missouri as StLouis is not far. KC beats everyone for avidness… they’re kind of ridiculous about sports there.

  13. siggers84

    I think for attendances you should be looking for markets with pro sports. Look at teams like Portland, OKC.

  14. siggers84

    Divide country into four quarters. Top 4 of each division make playoffs. Could be fun

  15. Marty McRae

    San Jose, CA is a top 10 most populated city and deserves much more than just the Sharks – the 49ers should change their name to San Jose, as their stadium is literally a 10 minute drive to the Shark Tank. Ridiculous how they are a top 10 city and MLB refuses them more than a A-ball team. They have both more money and people than everywhere else. Moron logic all round, everyone.

    • x%sure

      Calm down. The logic is a product of history, of teams established nearby first that hold territorial rights. Also SJ is not a great name… Fremont, Mission, even Milpitas lol… anything. Is there such a thing as Al Madden football in Almaden?— Oughta be

  16. mike.honcho

    I’m down to somehow contracting / downsizing the league, since there are so many meaningless games, many inept and hopeless organizations.

    Any meaningful FA wants to go to the Kings? Other than Hayward, who was a bloody overpay, any FA of note went to the HORNETS?

    Of course, inept owners like MJ, Ranadive, Taylor, etc won’t mind the losing, as long the NBA thrives and they will cash it in, along the ride.

    In a perfect world, the NBA will keep tabs on team performance with all the metrics available and those historically bad (after a long set period of time) will be bought out and replaced by another franchise.

    Back to the real world ……… any talk of expansion, should begin with SEATTLE.

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