LAS VEGAS — After stunning the crowd at the T-Mobile Arena and scoring 23 points in 17 minutes in the Los Angeles Lakers’ preseason 119-115 loss to the Phoenix Suns, LeBron James saved his biggest game for the postgame press conference Wednesday night.
When asked a question about the NBA hosting the Las Vegas exhibition game, James took the opportunity to make a personal plea to Commissioner Adam Silver, to be first in line to make it happen. team if the league ever expanded to Sin City.
“I’d like to bring a team here at some point. That would be great. I know Adam is in Abu Dhabi now I believe,” James said, referring to the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks preseason trip that Silver attends. “But he probably sees every interview and transcript that comes by NBA players.
“So I want the team here, Adam. Thank you.’
Wednesday wasn’t the first time James showed interest in owning a team in Las Vegas, but this was certainly his most direct statement.
Back 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 news conference if the league would go beyond the current 30 teams and said there are no immediate plans to do so.
“We’re not discussing that right now,” Silver said. “As I said before, this competition will invariably expand at some point, but at the moment we are not talking about it.”
However, when asked specifically about Seattle and Las Vegas as potential expansion locations, Silver endorsed both locations.
“Those are wonderful markets,” said Silver. “We were in Seattle. I’m sorry we’re not there anymore. We have a WNBA team in Seattle in an almost brand new building that is doing spectacularly. And Las Vegas, where we will be in our summer league in July, has turned out also be a great sports market.”
The LA Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers played a preseason game in Seattle this week.
James put it big, saying Las Vegas has “the best fanbase in the world” and winked as he said it, clearly aware that his statement would generate some buzz.
James, who is 37 and entering his 20th season, would have to be done playing to have a team. He would also need to partner with an ownership group to buy a team, despite 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 in 2019. of ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, as current owner Robert Sarver Fields is offering after he pledged to relinquish the franchise in the fallout from the competition, suspending him for a year and fined him $10 million after a almost a year-long investigation into his behavior in the workplace.
James is under contract with the Lakers through the 2024-25 season.
“I think it’s a great city. The natural organic energy built into the city here goes hand in hand with the level of sports that are believed to be placed here,” said Lakers coach Darvin Ham. “It’s a good idea. Moving on. 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 calling Las Vegas home.”