Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has already expressed his ambition to establish an NBA team in Las Vegas. But on Wednesday night, in Las Vegas, following a preseason game against the Phoenix Suns, he expressed it in the most straightforward manner yet.
And he made a personal appeal to NBA commissioner Adam Silver with it. In a post-game press conference, James stated, “I would love to bring a team here at some point.” That would be incredible. I suppose Adam is currently in Abu Dhabi.
However, it’s likely that he views every transcript and interview that NBA players send in. Adam, I need the crew to be here. Many thanks. One of the few people who appears to be able to purchase their own NBA franchise is LeBron James, who recently became the league’s first active billionaire player.
But in order to make his ideal purchase a reality, he would need to connect with an ownership group. The Minnesota Timberwolves, the last NBA franchise to be sold, fetched $1.5 billion last year. The Brooklyn Nets were sold in 2019 for an NBA record $2.35 billion.
NBA Rumors: The Present Contract Will End After the 2024–25 Season
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Numerous sources claim that although the league is considering it, expansion is not currently a top priority. Bargaining for a new TV rights agreement is more crucial. The present contract will end after the 2024–25 season.
The league could then consider adding teams in Las Vegas and Seattle, which lost their beloved SuperSonics in 2008. During his yearly NBA Finals news conference in June, Silver was asked about the league’s potential expansion beyond 30 teams.
He responded, “We are not discussing it at this moment. This league will undoubtedly grow at some point, as I previously stated, but we aren’t talking about it right now. Silver spoke of Seattle and Las Vegas as both being “great markets” when questioned directly about possible expansion cities.
Currently, franchise owners are not permitted to play for their own teams in the NBA. When Michael Jordan made the decision to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2001, this rule made him give up his ownership of the Washington Wizards. James, who is 37 and playing in his 20th NBA season, was thus unable to participate with a Las Vegas team he owns.
James Is Committed to the Lakers per His Current Contract
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Through the 2024–2025 season, James is committed to the Lakers per his current contract. Ready for Las Vegas? The NFL, NHL, and WNBA are already based in Las Vegas, and other leagues are scouting the city at various stages.
Over the past 18 months, representatives from the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball have visited Las Vegas to look into a potential $1 billion relocation. The club wants to move to either the Las Vegas Festival Grounds, which are owned by casino magnate Phil Ruffin, or the current location of the Tropicana, which Bally’s bought last year.
A $3 billion NBA-ready arena and entertainment district with 22,000 seats and a 2,000-room casino hotel is being built in the former sticks near Blue Diamond Road by LA-based developers, the Oak View Group.
It will be built on 25 acres near the junction of I-15 and I-215, next to the Las Vegas terminal for the envisioned Brightline high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and is expected to start building in 2023 and finish in 2026.