If NBA considers Kansas City for expansion, guess whose hand is up: He wears No. 15
If the NBA expands, and Kansas City is a candidate for a franchise, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes wants in.
“It would definitely be a goal of mine to get a team to Kansas City,” Mahomes told The Star in an interview. “It’s a long-term play that hopefully we’ll be able to do some day.”
Leading an ownership group of a professional franchise would be new for Mahomes. But he already has a seat at other tables In July 2020, Mahomes became part of the Royals ownership group led by John Sherman.
Last month, he joined Sporting Kansas City’s ownership group.
Mahomes said he believes the NBA would work in Kansas City.
“I look at Lawrence and KU and how they sell out every game, and when they come to Kansas City they sell out T-Mobile Center,” Mahomes said. “I definitely think it would be an awesome (NBA) environment.”
Is the NBA looking to expand? In interviews over the past year, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver appears to be open to the idea but not in a rush to make it happen.
Before the start of the NBA season last December, Silver said: “I think I’ve always said that it’s sort of the manifest destiny of the league that you expand at some point,” Silver said. “We’ve been putting a little bit more time into it than we were pre-pandemic. But certainly not to the point that expansion is on the front burner.”
The off the front-burner tone continued last month when Silver spoke before the NBA Finals.
“The most important considerations for us when we look at expansion is, will it ultimately grow the pie?” Silver said. “Meaning, it’s potentially 30 more jobs if you expand with two teams. You expand the league’s footprint. How does that help us in varying ways, sort of increased support nationally.
“So we’ll continue to look at it. I mean, I’ve said this many times before, we’re certainly not suggesting we’re locked at 30 teams. I think at some point it will make sense to expand, but it’s just not at the top of the agenda right now.”
If and when the NBA grows, Seattle is seen as a lock for a team. The city lost its NBA franchise, the SuperSonics, to Oklahoma City in 2008. Las Vegas also is mentioned prominently as an expansion possibility.
Kansas City is often included among other candidates but a question has been identifying a deep-pocket owner, or billionaire, to lead the charge. Does half-a-billion count? The 12-year Chiefs contract Mahomes signed last July could ultimately be worth up to $504 million.
Relocation is also speculated as a pathway to a franchise. That’s how Kansas City gained — and lost — its NBA team. The Cincinnati Royals arrived in 1972 and became the Kansas City-Omaha Kings. In 1985, the Kansas City Kings left for Sacramento, California.
The NBA hasn’t expanded since 2004, when Charlotte re-entered the league two years after losing its franchise to New Orleans.