LeBron James to NBA commissioner

LAS VEGAS — After wowing the crowd at T-Mobile Arena with 23 points in 17 minutes in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 119-115 loss to the Phoenix Suns last season, LeBron James picked up his biggest game for the press conference the game on Wednesday night.

When James was asked a question about the NBA hosting the exhibition game in Las Vegas, he took the opportunity to personally ask Commissioner Adam Silver to be first in line to own the team if the league ever comes to Sin City is expanding.

“I’d love to bring a team here at some point. That would be great. I know Adam is in Abu Dhabi right now, I think,” said James, alluding to the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks’ pre-season trips to the United Arab Emirates Emirates, in which Silver participates. “But he probably sees every single interview and transcript that comes from NBA players.

“Well, I want the team here, Adam. Thanks.”

Wednesday wasn’t the first time James had expressed interest in owning a team in Las Vegas, but this was certainly his most direct statement.

In June, James first revealed his goal on an episode of his YouTube show, The Shop: Uninterrupted.

“I want a team in Vegas,” said James, who is already a partner in Liverpool FC and the Boston Red Sox. “I want the team in Vegas.”

Silver was asked during his annual NBA Finals press conference if the league would expand beyond its current 30 teams and said there were no immediate plans to do so.

“We’re not talking about that right now,” Silver said. “Like I said before, this league is going to get bigger and bigger at some point, but right now we’re not discussing that.”

However, when asked specifically about Seattle and Las Vegas as potential expansion locations, Silver favored both locations.

“These are wonderful markets,” said Silver. “We were in Seattle. I’m sorry we’re not there anymore. We have a Seattle WNBA team in a nearly brand new building that is running spectacularly. And Las Vegas, where we’ll be in our summer league in July, has also proven to be a great sports market.”

The LA Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers played a preseason game in Seattle this week.

James laid it on thick, saying that Las Vegas has “the best fan base in the world” and winking as he said it, fully aware that his statement would draw some attention.

James, who is 37 and entering his 20th NBA season, would have to finish playing to own a team. He would also need to partner with an ownership group to buy a team, despite having a net worth of over $1 billion, according to Forbes.

The youngest NBA team to hit the market, the Minnesota Timberwolves sold for $1.5 billion in 2021. The Brooklyn Nets sold for an NBA-record $2.35 billion in 2019. The Suns are set to set a new record, according to a report by ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, when current owner Robert Sarver makes offers to Fields after agreeing to part ways with the franchise in league episodes, suspending him for a year and fined him $10 million after a nearly year-long investigation into his workplace behavior.

James is under contract with the Lakers through the 2024-25 season.

“I think it’s a great city, the natural organic energy that’s built into the city here goes hand in hand with the level of sport that’s based here,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said of Las Vegas. “It’s a no-brainer. Down the road. I don’t want to speak for the NBA or the commissioner, but I think eventually you’ll see a permanent NBA team here that calls Las Vegas home.”

https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/34737060/lebron-james-tells-commissioner-want-team-las-vegas LeBron James to NBA commissioner

Emma Bowman

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