Team USA players say Las Vegas is ready for an NBA franchise

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The NHL is already there. The WNBA is already there. The MGM Resorts Summer League is already there. USA Basketball's minicamp is already there. The NFL is on its way there.

"There," of course is Las Vegas and judging from comments made some Team USA players who were in town for the minicamp to Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Sin City is a prime candidate to receive an NBA franchise.

“They’ve got hockey here, and they’ve got WNBA here, the NFL will be here in a couple of years,” Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder 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.”

The success of the Las Vegas Golden Knights, an NHL expansion team that went all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals last season before bowing to the Washington Capitals, is proof Las Vegas is ready, willing and able to support an NBA team, as well, some players said.

“Even just from adding an NHL team, they’re doing great things,” 2018 NBA Most Valuable Player James Harden of the Houston Rockets 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.”

Blake Griffin of the Detroit Pistons agreed, though he said it would be difficult to see an existing NBA franchise leave its present city to relocate to Las Vegas.

“The hockey team here did really, really well,” Griffin said. “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.”

Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors, winner of the last two NBA Finals MVP awards, believes Las Vegas would be a destination city for players across the league.

”I think players like coming here,” Durant told Anderson. “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.”

Team USA coach Gregg Popovich, who has led the San Antonio Spurs to five NBA championships, didn't join the aforementioned players on the Las Vegas bandwagon.

“I’m not the mayor,” Popovich said. “I’m not a business guy. I don’t know how their city works. I’m just glad the team is still in San Antonio because I can coach it.”