For Las Vegas basketball fans, it appears the wait for an NBA franchise will continue for quite awhile.
Speaking a few doors down from the Encore ballroom where Gary Bettman welcomed Las Vegas to the NHL three weeks ago, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league is not ready to expand and is content having the city serve as the home to the NBA Summer League and USA Basketball.
“We have a great relationship with Las Vegas,” Silver said Tuesday after the Board of Governors meeting. “The summer league gets bigger every year. We’re expecting record attendance again. But the reality is we’re not looking to expand at the present time. Maybe at some point down the road we’ll take a look at expansion. Over time, all organizations grow, at least those that continue to thrive. So at some point, we’ll look at it.
“What the NHL has done has no bearing on how we look at Las Vegas. We’ve always been positive about Las Vegas as a market. Our summer league has been there 12 years. We played an All-Star Game there (in 2007). USA Basketball trains there. There’s no issue with the attractiveness of Las Vegas.”
Silver said the concept of playing NBA regular-season games at T-Mobile Arena is something the league might consider in the future. But for now, the status quo will remain in place.
“It’s something we might look at,” he said. “We’re not against it. But there’s 67 games over two weeks in Las Vegas each summer. That far exceeds in my mind coming in for two games on a weekend.”
While nothing is changing regarding Las Vegas, change might be coming to Charlotte, North Carolina, where the NBA has lingering concerns over whether to still host its All-Star Weekend there from Feb. 17 to 19. At issue is a state law that the league finds discriminatory against the LGBT community.
“This is an issue that has been going on for several months,” Silver said of the so-called “Bathroom Bill,” which was passed by the North Carolina state legislature this year. “We’re not prepared to make a decision, but the calendar is not our friend.
“If we’re going to make a decision on the All-Star Game moving, we’re going to have to make it soon.”
Silver said no vote has been taken regarding the situation. But he said the NBA continues to monitor things and could take action at any time.
The league also announced it was amending its rules pertaining to deliberate fouling away from the ball. The previous rule, which applied to the final two minutes of a game, has been extended to the final two minutes of each quarter. The fouled team receives one free throw and maintains possession.
Contact Steve Carp at email@example.com or 702-387-2913. Follow on Twitter: @stevecarprj