The Golden State Warriors have officially earned a WNBA franchisethe league announced Thursday, the first time since 2008 that the WNBA has expanded.
WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert opened Thursday’s press conference by saying that since joining the league in 2019, she has been asked one question multiple times: When will the WNBA expand?
“My answer has always been: when the time is right,” she said. “Well, the right time, the right time is today.”
She also mentioned that the Bay Area is where “some of the basketball’s greatest moments took place,” a nod to the Warriors and Stanford women’s basketball success.
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Play for the new franchise – whose name and mascot have yet to be decided – will begin in 2025. Engelbert has previously said she wants two expansion teams to join the league to play in 2025, which she reiterated Thursday. This means another expansion announcement should be coming soon. The Next reported on Thursday that Portland, Oregon, expected to be the other growing city.
Engelbert said after the conclusion of the WNBA Finalswhich announces Sunday, the WNBA Board of Governors will determine the details of an expansion draft – which will likely take place in late 2024.
“The depth and talent in this league and in women’s college basketball has never been better,” Engelbert said.
The Bay Area team will be headquartered and trained in Oakland, at the Warriors’ training facility, but will play its games at the Chase Center in San Francisco. Ownership will be led by Warriors co-executive chairman and CEO Joe Lacob – who previously owned the ABL’s San Jose Lasers – and co-executive chairman Peter Guber.
“The league is ready for this expansion,” Lacob said. “Women’s basketball is taking off. Women’s sport, in general, is taking off in a bigger way.
Then he made a promise, familiar to Warriors fans who remember his first news conference after purchasing Golden State in 2010: “We will win a WNBA championship in the first five years of this franchise,” he said. Lacob.
He kept that commitment when it came to the Warriors.
The Warriors will become the sixth NBA franchise to have a WNBA team, joining the Brooklyn Nets (New York Liberty), Phoenix Suns (Phoenix Mercury), Minnesota Timberwolves (Minnesota Lynx), Washington Wizards (Washington Mystics) and Indiana Pacers (Indiana Fever). ).
The WNBA last expanded in 2008, when it added the Atlanta Dream.