LAS VEGAS — After wowing the crowd at T-Mobile Arena, he scored 23 points in 17 minutes in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 119-115 preseason loss to the Phoenix Suns. LeBron James He saved his biggest game for Wednesday night’s post-news conference.
When asked a question about hosting an NBA exhibition game in Las Vegas, James took the opportunity to personally plead with commissioner Adam Silver.
“I’d love to bring a team over here sometime. That would be amazing. I know Adam’s in Abu Dhabi right now, I hope so,” James said, referring to the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks’ preseason trip to the UAE. Emirates that attends Friday. “But he watches every interview and transcript from NBA players.
“I need a team here Adam. Thanks.”
It wasn’t Wednesday that James expressed interest in owning a team in Las Vegas, but it was certainly his first direct announcement.
James first revealed his goal in an episode of his YouTube show “The Shop: Interrupted” in June.
“I want a team in Vegas,” said James, who already owns Liverpool FC and the Boston Red Sox. “I want the team in Vegas.”
Asked during his annual NBA Finals news conference about the league expanding beyond its current 30 teams, Silver said there are no immediate plans to do so.
“We’re not discussing that at this time,” Silver said. “As I’ve said before, at some point, this league will inevitably expand, but we’re not discussing that at this time.”
However, when Seattle and Las Vegas were asked as potential expansion locations, Silver approved both locations.
“They’re wonderful markets,” Silver said. “We were in Seattle. Sorry, we’re not there anymore. There’s a WNBA team in Seattle, almost in a brand new building and it’s awesome. And Las Vegas will be in our summer league in July. It’s shown itself to be a great sports market as well.”
The LA Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers played a season opener this week in Seattle.
James laid it on thick, saying Las Vegas has “the best fan base in the world,” and with a wink as he said it, he clearly realized his statement would create some buzz.
James, 37, entering his 20th NBA season, must be done playing to own a team. Although he has a net worth north of $1 billion, according to Forbes, he needs to connect with an ownership group to buy a team.
The most recent 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 expected to set a new record. From ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, current owner Robert Sarver is suspending Fields for one year and fining him $10 million after he agreed to play a part in the franchise’s downfall.
James is under contract with the Lakers through the 2024-25 season.
“I think it’s a great city, and the natural organic energy that’s built into the city here goes hand-in-hand with the level of sports that are supposed to be put on here,” Lakers coach Darwin Hamm said of Las Vegas. “It’s a no-brainer. Bottom line. I don’t want to talk about the NBA or the commissioner, but I think at some point you’ll see a permanent NBA team call Las Vegas home.”
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