Gary Payton Believes NBA Will Add Teams in Seattle and Las Vegas, Eyes SEA Ownership

Adam WellsJanuary 24, 2023

FILE:  Gary Payton of the Seattle Supersonics with the ball during a National Basketball Association game against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Matt A. Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Matt A. Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Basketball Hall of Famer Gary Payton thinks the NBA will expand with teams in Seattle and Las Vegas.

Speaking to TMZ Sports, Payton said he thinks expansion is "gonna happen."

"I think us [Seattle] and Vegas should be a good starting point for what the NBA wants to do," he added.

If the NBA does expand to include a Seattle franchise, Payton said he's "already in the works" with being involved with the ownership group.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told reporters during the Finals in June the league wasn't looking to expand "at this time," though he acknowledged expansion will "invariably" happen.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski noted in October that Seattle and Las Vegas are real candidates for new teams, but any expansion is likely "years away" because the NBA wants to take care of its new media rights deals and a collective bargaining agreement before doing anything else.

The league's current television contracts with ESPN/ABC and Turner Sports expire after the 2024-25 season. The NBA and NBPA are negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement with an opt-out date of Feb. 8.

Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press reported last week the league and players could push back the opt-out deadline for a second time.

Payton is a Seattle sports icon who spent the first 12-and-a-half seasons of his career with the SuperSonics. He helped lead the franchise to 10 playoff appearances, including a trip to the 1996 NBA Finals.

"The Glove" was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013. He was a nine-time All-Star and All-Defensive first-team selection.

Seattle hasn't had an NBA franchise since the Sonics relocated to Oklahoma City before the 2008-09 season.