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NBA Has 'No Plans for Expansion at This Time' amid Las Vegas Arena Development

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVApril 7, 2022

Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Oak View Group has plans to build an arena in Las Vegas that is scheduled to be finished in 2026 and would be able to serve as an NBA team's home in the future, according to The Athletic's Mike Vorkunov.

But an NBA spokesman told Vorkunov that the league has "no plans for expansion at this time."

Oak View Group consultant Marc Badain said the goal was to have an NBA-ready arena should the league choose to expand and choose Las Vegas as a host city:

"We're not going to be speculative. We're not going to be presumptive. We're not going to make assumptions. [CEO Tim Leiweke] was very clear. He said, 'We don't get to make that decision.' That decision is up to the 30 NBA owners and the NBA office. And Tim's done it before, Oak View's done it before where they've built a venue, and it was called tenant-ready. Partner-ready is probably a better term than tenant-ready. And should the NBA decide that Vegas is a market they want to enter, they'll have an option in our facility. If they choose it we'll be ready for them and if they want to go somewhere else, that's their decision to make. It's their business. But it'll be built to NBA specs and it will be built ready for an NBA team if they make that decision on their own."
Feven Kay @Feven_Kay

A new $3 billion sports &amp; entertainment district is coming to Vegas!<a href="https://twitter.com/oakviewgroup?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@oakviewgroup</a> says it will include a casino, hotel, theater &amp; a $1 billion arena w/ 20,000 seats that will be used for concerts and sporting events. <br><br>Maybe one day it’ll be home to a new Las Vegas <a href="https://twitter.com/NBA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NBA</a> team 😬 <a href="https://t.co/W8gLAbtHEO">pic.twitter.com/W8gLAbtHEO</a>

Jess Golden @JGolden5

Breaking on CNBC: Tim Leiweke's Oak View Group announces they have acquired 25 acres of land in Las Vegas to build a new $3B sports and entertainment district. This will include a 20K capacity arena, casino and hotel project.

The NBA hasn't added a new franchise since 2004 (the then-Charlotte Bobcats), while Las Vegas has added the Golden Knights (NHL), Raiders (NFL) and Aces (WNBA) in the past five years, establishing itself as an up-and-coming sports city. 

It seems like a very real possibility that if the NBA adds expansion teams, Seattle will be a frontrunner after the Supersonics departed in 2008 and became the Oklahoma City Thunder. 

"The odds are high," Seattle Mayor Harrell told reporters in March. "We're very intentional about it. I chase down rumors and I chase down actual people in a position to make that happen. I feel good about our opportunity."

But if the NBA chooses to add two expansion teams in the future and bring the league's total to 32 teams, Vegas would be a logical option alongside Seattle. 

"I certainly think Vegas is ready for it," Badain told The Athletic. "I certainly think that the demand would be there for it. It's an incredible sports town. You have the combination of a growing locals base that's enjoyed the affiliation with both the Knights and then obviously the Raiders. And then you also have the tourism base that can augment that, so I think the market is ready for an NBA team and really excited to embrace it."

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