LAS VEGAS — After wowing the crowd at T-Mobile Arena, scoring 23 points in 17 minutes in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 119-115 loss to the Phoenix Suns, LeBron James saved his biggest game for the press conference. post-game on Wednesday evening.
When asked about the NBA holding the exhibition game in Las Vegas, James took the opportunity to make a personal plea to commissioner Adam Silver, seeking to be the first to own the team if the league extended one day to Sin City.
“I would love to bring a team here at some point. It would be amazing. I know Adam is in Abu Dhabi right now, I believe,” James said, alluding to the Milwaukee Bucks’ pre-season trip and from the Atlanta Hawks to the United Arab Emirates. Emirates in which Silver participates. “But he probably sees all the NBA player interviews and transcripts.
“So I want the team here, Adam. Thank you.”
Wednesday wasn’t the first time James had expressed an interest in owning a team in Las Vegas, but it was certainly his most direct statement.
In June, on an episode of his YouTube show “The Shop: Uninterrupted,” James first revealed his goal.
“I want a team in Vegas,” said James, who already co-owns Liverpool FC and the Boston Red Sox. “I want the team in Vegas.”
Silver was asked at his annual NBA Finals press conference about expanding the league beyond its current 30 teams and said there were no immediate plans to do so.
“We’re not discussing that right now,” Silver said. “As I said before, at some point this league is invariably going to expand, but that’s not where we’re discussing it right now.”
However, when asked specific questions about Seattle and Las Vegas as potential locations for expansion, Silver endorsed both locations.
“These are wonderful markets,” Silver said. “We were in Seattle. I’m sorry we’re not there anymore. We have a WNBA team in Seattle in an almost new building that’s doing spectacularly. And Las Vegas, where we’ll be at our summer league in July also turned out to be a big sports market.”
The LA Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers played a preseason game in Seattle this week.
James made it clear, saying Las Vegas has “the best fan base in the world”, and winking as he said, clearly aware that his statement would generate buzz.
James, who is 37 and entering his 20th NBA season, would have to be done playing to own a team. He is also expected to partner with an ownership group to buy a team, despite having a net worth north of $1 billion, according to Forbes.
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. dollars in 2019. The Suns are expected to set a new record, according to a report. of ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, as current owner Robert Sarver Fields offers after pledging to part ways with the franchise in the league fallout by suspending him for a year and fining him $10 million dollars after a nearly year-long investigation into his conduct at work.
James is under contract with the Lakers through the 2024-25 season.
“I think it’s a big city, the natural organic energy that’s built into the city here, it goes with the level of sports that have been considered to be placed here,” the Lakers coach said. , Darvin Ham, about Las Vegas. “It’s a given. Down the road. I don’t want to speak on behalf of the NBA or the commissioner, but I think at some point you’ll see a permanent NBA team here moving to Vegas.”
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