Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Lakers’ LeBron James casually hints at desire to own an NBA expansion team in Las Vegas

LeBron James has entered the twilight of his storied career, and it’s only natural that he’s already thinking about opportunities once his playing days are over. He’s already dabbled in acting and producing, he opened a school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, and was recently evaluated as a billionaire by Forbes. He became the first active player in the NBA to reach such a pinnacle in the financial realm. 

With the type of portfolio James has already established through his playing career, the possibilities are limitless when he’s finally done playing. One goal that he seems intent to accomplish is owning an NBA team. During the latest episode of James’ show “The Shop: Uninterrupted,” he not only expressed his interest in owning a team (before becoming a TV pundit), but he also specified where exactly.

“I want to own a team, I want to buy a team, for sure,” James said. “I would much rather own a team before I talk. Yeah, I want a team in Vegas.”

Though LeBron may want to own a team in Las Vegas, he may have to wait awhile as NBA commissioner Adam Silver recently said ahead of Game 1 of the NBA Finals that the league isn’t looking to expand anytime soon

“As I said before, at some point, this league invariably will expand, but it’s not at this moment that we are discussing it,” Silver said. “One of the factors in expanding is the potential dilution of talent. As I’ve said before, I find it remarkable that when you have the second-most-played sport in the world after soccer, tens of millions of young men playing in this game, and then you have the 450 best in the world in this league, that there’s a few of them who separate themselves even among those 450 as the very best of the best, but there is then a fall-off, a drop-off in talent after that.

“So expansion does create a certain amount of dilution. And even sort of adding another 30 players or so that are roughly comparable, there still are only so many of the truly top-tier super talents to go around. That is something on the mind of the other teams as we think about expansion. But those are wonderful markets. We’ll be looking at it at some point, but there’s no specific timeline right now.”

Though Silver said that the NBA isn’t focusing on expansion right now, Seattle and Las Vegas have been the two most talked about markets for potential franchises. Las Vegas’ mayor even recently said that she’s confident that an NBA team will be the next franchise her city will get.

“I really do believe NBA will be among the next,” Mayor Carolyn Goodman said via 13 Action News. “We certainly have the WNBA, that was why that was there, a sort of ‘let’s see how they do,’ and they’ve done remarkably well.”

If the NBA were to expand, and if Vegas were to be one of the cities rewarded with a franchise, then it sounds like LeBron would be first in line to try and strike a deal to own the team. He would have to wait until he’s done playing to think about ownership, but given Silver’s comments recently, it sounds like expansion won’t happen in the near future. 

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