WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert made waves Monday when she said the WNBA was eyeing the addition of three new teams over the next four years.

In her pre-draft press conference, Engelbert said more announcements about expansion teams will come in the coming weeks and months.

“The growth and demand for the WNBA have led us to expansion,” she said. “Women’s basketball is not a fad. We’ve been steadily building this momentum for years, and we’re ready for what’s next.”

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The WNBA currently has 12 teams and will grow to 13 in 2025, when expansion team Golden State is set to join the league.

Engelbert said she is “confident” the WNBA will add its 14th team by 2026 and two more teams by 2028.

“We’re on our way to 16,” she said. “That will add 48 roster spots in just a couple of years. That in a league of 144 is a lot, so that’s 30%, and I think it will be great when we get those done over the next couple of years.”

The Golden State team is the league’s first expansion team since the Atlanta Dream in 2008, according to ESPN. The WNBA has expanded slowly compared to its soccer counterpart — the National Women’s Soccer League.

This season, the NWSL added Bay FC and the Utah Royals and intends to bring its total up to 16 teams by 2026, NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman announced in January.

Which cities could get a WNBA expansion team?

Engelbert said the league is in talks with Philadelphia, Toronto, Portland, Denver, Nashville and South Florida about possibly becoming expansion markets.

The commissioner cited arenas, training facilities, player housing and “committed long-term” ownership groups as factors necessary for expansion teams.

During the regular season and playoffs, players are given the option of receiving a monthly housing stipend or living in team-provided housing, according to the league’s CBA.

Portland was expected to land the WNBA’s 14th team shortly after the Golden State team was announced, but those expansion talks were put on hold due to “the potential renovation of the Moda Center currently anticipated to take place during consecutive summers,” according to a letter from Engelbert to Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden obtained by ESPN.

But expansion is not limited to those six markets, per Engelbert.

“Those are the cities we’re talking to, but just last week we got calls from two other cities and these can either take a very long time to negotiate or can happen pretty quickly if you find the right ownership group with the right arena situation,” she said.

Will Ryan Smith bring the WNBA back to Salt Lake City?

Could one of those two cities be Salt Lake City? In October, Jazz owner Ryan Smith was asked if he was considering bringing the WNBA back to Utah.

“We’ve got a pretty full plate right now, I’ll be honest,” he said. “But I know Cathy extremely well, and we talk a lot. And what she’s doing with the WNBA and Dwyane (Wade) actually just jumping into (the) Chicago team where he’s from, it’s exciting.”

In addition to the Jazz, Smith owns the NWSL’s Utah Royals, which returned to the state after a three-year hiatus.

“When you think about (the) WNBA or women’s sports, we’re in, and we’re not going to be halfway in, like that just is no. It’s all in and all the time,” he said. “The plate’s full, but we’ll keep rolling.”

A full plate hasn’t stopped Smith from expanding his ownership to other sports, so maybe the door isn’t fully closed on the WNBA’s return to Utah.

Smith is on the verge of purchasing and moving the Arizona Coyotes to Utah. He practically confirmed the rumor Wednesday, as the Deseret News reported.

“There’s no secret on what’s out there online. Normally, not everything on the internet is true, but in this case, it’s pretty true,” he said.

The NHL executive committee has already approved the move, as the Deseret News reported earlier this week. An official announcement about the sale and move is expected soon.

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Salt Lake City was previously home to one of the WNBA’s inaugural teams, the Utah Starzz. The team played in Utah from 1997 to 2002 before it was sold and relocated to San Antonio.

The team has since been sold and relocated again but this time to Las Vegas to become two-time defending WNBA champions, the Las Vegas Aces.

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What fans have said about the WNBA expanding

In light of Monday’s deeply-talented pool of draftees, fans took to social media to share their frustration that the league has yet to expand to make room for the influx of talent in women’s college basketball.

Here are some of the reactions: