Of all the prominent figures that have expressed their interest in establishing an NBA franchise in Las Vegas, it’s LeBron James who emerged as a solid frontrunner.
As reported by Ric Bucher in his podcast (h/t Eric Eulau of Sports Illustrated), James is in the “pole position” of potentially owning a Sin City basketball team in the near future.
Bucher further said that other than Vegas, Seattle will also be in the mix that the league will consider for expansion as soon as the next television deal will be up for grabs.
“LeBron James apparently is in the pole position, to be the owner of the Las Vegas expansion franchise, when Las Vegas and Seattle which I’m told is going to happen as soon as the next TV deals are in place, that those franchises are going to be added to the equation, which has a whole lot of repercussions including the timing of when LeBron decides to step aside and become an owner, rather than a player.”
Both Las Vegas and Seattle are frequently being mentioned as probable cities to stage the league’s expansion motives.
But in June, it was Commissioner Adam Silver who directly dismissed these ongoing whispers, claiming that the NBA isn’t ready yet to discuss an expansion.
But the future remains uncertain, and the association would gladly welcome a much larger audience as time goes by. The NBA’s current television deal for a combined $24 billion with both ESPN and Turner Sports will end at the conclusion of the 2024-2025 season.
Certainly so, the idea of expansion is enticing enough to gain more viewership and engagement with fans and supporters. Both cities boast special traits to be considered, wherein Seattle remains hosting a large basketball fan base ever since the SuperSonics’ existence for almost 40 years, while Vegas flashes a big market tendencies due to its reputation as the Entertainment Capital of the World.
As such, being the first active NBA player to achieve a billionaire status, James’ empire of wealth and influence are powerful enough to put his interest in a possible ownership stint following his legendary professional career. With Floyd Mayweather, Shaquille O’Neal, and Oscar De La Hoya also handing their intentions to build a basketball club in Vegas, it’ll be easy for him to find business partners for success.