Phoenix Suns coming to Las Vegas? Don’t put on your NBA jerseys yet

Welcome to Las Vegas, the new Los Angeles of pro sports.

L.A. once was the city that teams would threaten to make their new home. Southern Nevada now has become leverage city.

The latest example occurred Wednesday, when the Arizona Republic reported that Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver threatened to take his NBA team to Las Vegas or Seattle if he doesn’t get a state-financed $150 million upgrade to Talking Stick Resort Arena.

It’s the first time an NBA franchise has used Las Vegas to get a sweeter deal. And unlike Seattle, Las Vegas has an NBA-ready venue: T-Mobile Arena.

Phoenix Mayor Thelda Williams and two councilwomen paved the way for a postponement of Wednesday afternoon’s City Council vote on the renovations to the downtown Phoenix arena because they vote didn’t have support.

Enter Sarver, who has a reputation as one of the least-liked owners in the league. He bought the team in 2004, and it has foundered under his ownership, missing the playoffs for the past eight seasons and currently with the NBA’s worst record at 4-24.

But don’t buy your Deandre Ayton jerseys just yet. There’s a winding road until the NBA hits Las Vegas.

What are the hurdles?

Sarver wants $150 million in public money to go with his $80 million to renovate luxury boxes and other arena areas between 2019 and 2021. It will take four yes votes on the seven-person council to approve the public funding.

If it’s approved, the team stays in Phoenix through 2037 with a $200 million penalty if they leave early. Yes, there is some public opposition to the proposed city funding.

If the deal is voted down, the Suns could leave as soon as 2022 thanks to a provision that lets them out of their lease 10 years early. Would you believe it’s the fifth oldest arena in the NBA?

Or he could try to build his own arena in one of the many rumored parcels in the metro Phoenix area, including a few on American Indian land.

NBA has a say-so

Any move would have to be approved by the 30-member NBA Board of Governors.

The league requires a simple majority vote to move a franchise — but if there’s a change in ownership, three-quarters approval is needed.

Seattle knows this all too well because it was the last city to have a move blocked: After losing the Sonics to Oklahoma City in 2008, the Emerald City was denied the Sacramento Kings franchise in 2013, when the NBA voted down the move and the ownership change.

The previous Kings owners? The Maloof brothers of Las Vegas.

MGM really wants a team

MGM Resorts International has been leading an effort to attract a professional basketball team to Las Vegas.

■ MGM Resorts and AEG own T-Mobile Arena, which is home to the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights and was built NBA-ready. The arena has hosted NBA exhibition games and is the home of the Pac-12 men’s basketball tournament.

■ Last year it purchased the WNBA’s San Antonio Stars and moved the team to Mandalay Bay, renaming it the Aces.

■ Mandalay Bay will host the NBA’s G-League Showcase, a four-day event that includes all 27 of the NBA’s minor league teams.

■ The Thomas &Mack Center and Cox Pavilion have hosted the NBA Summer League since 2004.

MGM CEO Jim Murren in May said he expected Las Vegas to have a pro basketball team within five years. MGM Resorts declined to comment Wednesday about the Suns.

This won’t be the last time

You might hear owners and agents sing the praises of Las Vegas often after this. In fact, a subtle push already had begun by players to get a franchise in the valley.

“I think NBA players like coming here,” said Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant in August at the Team USA camp. “I’m sure whatever team they put together will be successful here because of how much support and how many good resources are here. It would just add on another level of excitement for the NBA and the game of basketball, so I’m all for it.”

Todd Prince can be reached at Bill Bradley can be reached at

Boyd Gaming planning new corporate campus
Casino operator Boyd Gaming Corp. has filed plans to build a new corporate campus. The plans call for two 10-story office buildings and a six-level parking garage in the southwest Las Vegas Valley. Boyd Gaming operates The Orleans, the Suncoast, downtown's California Hotel and other properties. The new headquarters would be just a mile from its current main office building.
Bellagio Conservatory transformed to celebrate Year of the Pig
The Bellagio Conservatory Team transformed the 14,000 square foot conservatory to commemorate Chinese New Year, the holiday that marks the end of the coldest days of winter. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Intro uses sound to connect people
Intro, a startup that is part of the Future Worlds Accelerator in the UK, has an app that uses ultrasonic sound to find people and companies nearby.
CES 2019 Video: CES wraps up another year
Time-lapse video of the action at CES 2019 in Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Create your own beauty products
Beauty Mix by BeautyByMe is a product that lets you create your own cosmetics and beauty products. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Picobrew’s home brew machine
Picobrew brings automation to homebrewing. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Surviving CES
What it's like to spend four days working the mammoth tech convention. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Haier’s smart home
Haier presented smart home technology at CES 2019.
CES 2019 VIDEO: Foldimate makes laundry day easy
Foldimate has created a machine that will fold your laundry for you. Just feed it anything you need folded and it will do the rest. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Opte device corrects skin spots
Opte from Proctor and Gamble is a device for correcting spots and freckles from skin. It analyzes the area for spots and then covers them with a serum of matching skin tone. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Circa hotel-casino in downtown Las Vegas unveiled
Derek Stevens reveals Circa hotel-casino in downtown Las Vegas. He plans open by the end of 2020. (K.M Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Circa, new casino coming to Fremont Street
Casino owner Derek Stevens announces his new property Circa, coming to Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas in late 2020. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dreenk My Oeno makes wine suggestions
At CES 2019 in Las Vegas, the Dreenk My Oeno tells you all about wine.
Polaroid One Step Plus camera unveiled at CES 2019
Polaroid has moved into the digital age with its One Step Plus camera with Bluetooth. With the connected app, it turns your smartphone into a remote for the camera, along with filters and features.
Amazon is everywhere at CES 2019 in Las Vegas
Seemingly everything works with Amazon Alexa
LG Smart Mirror helps you dress snazzy
LG’s Smart Mirror is less of a mirror but more of an assistant to help get you looking snazzy. It takes your image and recommends clothes for you or matches existing clothes with new clothes, which can be purchased right from the mirror. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Underwater robots make waves at CES 2019 in Las Vegas
Robosea is a company dedicated to underwater robotics. They produce consumer robots for underwater filming as well as commercial products which can be used for underwater research. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019 - Victrola record players spin in Las Vegas
A new spin on an old favorite, Victrola record players are meeting a demand for retro products. The brand is also making furnitures with built-in speakers.
CES 2019: Slamtec robots ready to serve
Slamtec is a robotics company out of China whose goal is to provide solutions for laser localization mapping and navigation. They have created two autonomous robots that can be used in areas such as bars, restaurants and malls. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mixologiq drink maker appears at CES 2019 in Las Vegas.
This is the Mixologiq drink maker.
CES 2019: Veritable smart garden
Let’s face it; not all of us have green thumbs. And herbs are particularly difficult to grow, considering their constant need for sunshine. Enter the Veritable smart garden from Exky, which does it all for you. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bonnie Springs Ranch near Las Vegas being sold to developer
Bonnie Springs Ranch near Las Vegas is being sold to a developer, set to close in March. Bonnie Springs, west of Las Vegas off State Route 159 — next to Spring Mountain Ranch State Park — spans more than 60 acres and was on the market for $31 million. The developer and his project partner are under contract to buy the ranch and plan to chop it up mostly into custom-home lots. The plans includes a 25-room motel, a restaurant and a 5,400-square-foot event barn.
Bone-conduction headphones form Aftershokz
Aftershokz offers bone-conduction headphones - headphones that don’t go in the ear.
CES Happy Hour party at Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace
Conventioneers mingled during the Hardware Massive CES 2019 Happy Hour Bash at The Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Autonomous Cars and Futuristic Aircraft Rule CES
Day two of CES was dominated by autonomous cars and futuristic aircraft in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
TekNekSavr fights neck problems caused by smart phones
Atiya Syverson invented the TekNekSavr to help fight neck and head problems caused by strains while typing on smart phones. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New eyeglasses know if you fall and call for help
The French company Abeye has created eye glasses that will detect if the wearer falls and call for help. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Company that creates vibrator-like device claims genders bias against CES
Lora DiCarlo is a women-run start-up that creates a vibrator-like device designed for female pleasure called the Osé. This year they were awarded the CES Innovation Award in the Robotics and Drone Category, but a month later the Consumer Technology Association, which runs CES, rescinded the award and their booth. Haddock and her team believe it is a reflection of gender bias and sexism in an industry with a long history of male domination.
CES-Wagz has new pet products
Wagz has three new products to help create better lives for your pets in a digital world. One is a collar with LTE tracking and an HD camera. Also a smart pet door that only lets your pet in and out. Lastly, a device to humanely keep Fluffy out of certain areas of your home. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Varram lats you play with your pet remotely
Varram’s pet robot is designed to let you remotely interact with your real pet. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like