Kevin Durant, James Harden and Paul George Support an NBA Franchise in Las Vegas

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 29, 2018

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 27:  Kevin Durant #52 of the United States attends a practice session at the 2018 USA Basketball Men's National Team minicamp at the Mendenhall Center at UNLV on July 27, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Could the NBA eventually have a franchise in Las Vegas? Several NBA players, including Kevin Durant, James Harden and Paul George, expressed support for the idea at the Team USA minicamp this past week. 

"I think players like coming here," Durant told Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "I'm sure whatever team they put together would be successful here because of so much support and so many great resources, and it would add on another level of excitement for the NBA, for the game of basketball, so I'm all for it."

Harden concurred.

"Even just from adding an NHL team, they're doing great things," he said. "It's built for it. Obviously, the money is there, but I think the fan support is there as well. We saw that in hockey."

And George cited the growing sports scene in the city.

"They've got hockey here, and they've got WNBA here, the NFL will be here in a couple of years," he told Anderson. "I think Vegas is built for an NBA team. I think they should be here. It has everything. It's easy access from the airport down to the Strip. I don't see why not."

Las Vegas already serves as the temporary center of the NBA world in July during summer league, with all 30 teams in attendance this year. And as George noted, the city currently has the WNBA's Aces and NHL's Golden Knights, while the NFL's Raiders will relocate to Vegas in 2020. 

As Anderson noted, there are no current plans to add an NBA team to Las Vegas or relocate a franchise. If the NBA does expand, it's hard to imagine that Seattle won't be atop the list after the Seattle SuperSonics were relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008 and became the Thunder. 

As Blake Griffin noted, Vegas would be a solid city for the NBA, but perhaps not at the expense of relocating a pre-existing franchise:

"The hockey team here did really, really well. I don't know if you consider it a sports town because of everything that's going on here, but I think people appreciate sports here. I think all sports would do well here. It's probably something in the future, but I think everybody realizes how much basketball brings to a city, and I don't know that it would be easy to take a team away from a different city to bring one here."

If expansion becomes a realistic possibility for the NBA in the near future, however, it wouldn't be surprising if Las Vegas is one of the top contenders for a franchise. 

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