Skip to content

David Stern leaves the door open for NBA to put franchises in Las Vegas and Seattle

Jul 19, 2013, 2:02 PM EDT

nba all star vegas Getty Images

David Stern is in the final year of his tenure as commissioner, and he seems to be wanting to go out on as diplomatic of a note as possible.

When the topic of expansion came up after the Board of Governors held a press conference to announce rule changes for the upcoming season, Adam Silver, who will take over the job for Stern in February, shut it down very quickly.

“We’re not focused on expansion at the moment,” Silver said. “No predictions in Las Vegas today from me.”

Stern, however, wasn’t afraid to leave the door open for franchises to be added at some point in the future. And Las Vegas and Seattle were the cities at the top of his list.

Seattle, of course, had an ownership group assembled and an offer in place to try to pluck the Kings from Sacramento. But once a strong ownership group emerged that would keep the Kings in Sacramento and move forward with plans for a new arena, the league preferred not to rip another team from its passionate fan base.

Given the interest and the legwork done by Seattle, it makes sense that the league would consider the city closely. But Las Vegas — a bit sketchier, for a variety of reasons — has never been thought of as a legitimate, long-term home for the NBA until now.

“Given sort of all of the references that you see about Las Vegas and sin city, we have always believed that gambling is a very legal business regulated carefully here in Nevada, that this is a huge entertainment destination and this is a place that we should embrace,” Stern said.

“In addition to the USA Basketball and Las Vegas summer league and the All‑Star Game, you didn’t include the fact that shortly after I became Commissioner, Kareem broke the record for the most points right here at the Thomas & Mack Center, and I was here for the celebration because the Jazz were playing ten games here that season.

“So I think Las Vegas is in the NBA history books; and with the discussions now, it seems that there is an arena that is getting closer to moving ahead after years and years of discussions.  And that should make it interesting as well.”

The arena would need to come first, as Thomas and Mack on the campus of UNLV isn’t to the level of NBA standards — seating is limited, there are no luxury boxes, and the infrastructure is dated.

But in the past, the sort of intangible concerns about all that goes on in Las Vegas and the potential problems that could arise have kept the league’s interest minimal, at best.

That may have actually changed, or it may just be Stern choosing to be as diplomatic as possible on his way out of office.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if Commissioner Silver was looking at strong applications from Las Vegas and Seattle in the coming years, and I’m going to enjoy watching it,” Stern said.

  1. dirtydavis - Jul 19, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    Vegas should have a NBA team

  2. 00maltliquor - Jul 19, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    YES!!!!! PUT A TEAM IN LAS VEGAS!!!!!!

  3. determineflksmakeit - Jul 19, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    Please do…ONLY if you get rid of one team and keep the total teams at 30. The NBA is not the NFL and you cannot just keep adding teams because you want to make more money…( I’m sorry because you want fans in untouched markets to enjoy your product).

    Adam, also consider lowering the number of games from 82 to (72-78) while you’re at it. It won’t take me as long to complete a season on NBA2K.

  4. miamidolphan3 - Jul 19, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    This is a great idea instead of taking a team away from the league so Seattle can i have one just add two teams like Seattle and vegas and move two teams to the east conference like memphis and new orleans to even everyrhing out. Atleast thats what i assume they are thinking about doing

  5. chiadam - Jul 19, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    Vegas Suicide Windows.

  6. eguy15 - Jul 19, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    Please do!! Than maybe the Memphis Grizzlies will be in the Eastern Conf where we belong!!!

  7. deadeyedesign23 - Jul 19, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    But I thought all these owners can’t make a profit on their franchises? Why on earth would we sucker 2 more saps into owning NBA teams?

  8. jcmeyer10 - Jul 19, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    2020, Las Vegas will be home to the LV Hornets…

  9. dezglobal - Jul 19, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    And nowwww Number 69 for your Las Vegas Prostitutes, Metta Worls Peace!!!!!!!

  10. onbucky96 - Jul 19, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    This should be a big Rut-Roh for Bango the Buck in Milwaukee.

  11. tcclark - Jul 19, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    The last thing we need in the NBA is to dilute the player pool that much more. We need to find ways to improve the quality of play on the court rather than diluting it like this move would do. Instituting a hard salary cap, expanding the draft a round, forcing players to be three years removed from high school, and creating a legitimate minor league system like in baseball or hockey would imporove the skill on the floor greatly. The NBA is probably the professional sports league with the most talent in it in the world. The athletes are freaks, but the majority of the players get by on their talent alone. We need to fill the league with higher skilled players which means the league needs to focus their attention on the development of young basketball players. This coupled with a hard salary cap would give the league significantly more parity and therefore a better product of basketball. Adding teams only worsens the problem. No one needs too more losing teams.

    • sasquash20 - Jul 20, 2013 at 11:51 AM

      Couldn’t agree more. The NBA already has 6 teams to many. Quality ball not quanity ball

  12. tcclark - Jul 19, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    The last thing we need in the NBA is to dilute the player pool that much more. We need to find ways to improve the quality of play on the court rather than diluting it like this move would do. Instituting a hard salary cap, expanding the draft a round, forcing players to be three years removed from high school, and creating a legitimate minor league system like in baseball or hockey would imporove the skill on the floor greatly. The NBA is probably the professional sports league with the most talent in it in the world. The athletes are freaks, but the majority of the players get by on their talent alone. We need to fill the league with higher skilled players which means the league needs to focus their attention on the development of young basketball players. This coupled with a hard salary cap would give the league significantly more parity and therefore a better product of basketball. Adding teams only worsens the problem. No one needs two more losing teams.

  13. ruffridin - Jul 19, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    Seattle and Vancouver please

  14. BigBeachBall - Jul 20, 2013 at 4:40 AM

    Vegas? But where will they find enough coctail waitresses and cheerleaders?

  15. jadaruler - Jul 20, 2013 at 7:00 AM

    I agree with Bucky, I see Milwaukee in Seattle to bu 2016

  16. dans761 - Jul 20, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    Its sickening what David Stern has done to the fine people of Seattle. A despicable person with no regard for others! 41 years! 41 YEARS, I bled Green and yellow, I gave my heart to this franchise just to be stabbed in the back by David Stern!! If he gave 1/1000th the effort in 2008 to Seattle, he gave to Sacramento, Sonics would still be in Seattle. The world will be a better place February 1st 2014!

  17. seaallday206 - Jul 21, 2013 at 4:34 AM

    just put a damn team in seattle…again. we didnt deserve to lose it in the first place so just give us and vancouver a team back.

    adam silver, dont follow in sterns foot steps please

  18. bringbacktheseattlesonics - Jul 23, 2013 at 10:49 PM

    Great just what seattle needs, signs of david stern scerwing us fans over again. I wonder if he enjoys putting seattle down.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

What players stood out at World Cup?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (3436)
  2. L. James (2716)
  3. D. Ferry (2649)
  4. K. Irving (2539)
  5. J. Valanciunas (2447)
  1. K. Bryant (2391)
  2. P. George (2149)
  3. R. Rondo (1889)
  4. N. Batum (1862)
  5. R. Gay (1861)