LeBron James has gotten candid about what he wants to do after his time with the Los Angeles Lakers ends. On the latest episode of “The Shop,” which premiered June 10 on YouTube, James revealed that he wants to own an NBA expansion franchise in Las Vegas.
Could James become the first player-owner in NBA history? He would have to push for changes to the NBA rules for that to become even a possibility.
“I wanna own a team,” James said. “Yeah, I wanna buy a team, for sure. … Yeah, I would much rather own a team before I talk [as a TV analyst]. Yeah, I want a team in Vegas. … Yeah, I want the team in Vegas.”
Here is a look at the viral interview clip that has basketball fans buzzing.
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Simmons: ‘I Think the League Is Going to Expand to Vegas & to Seattle’
James’ comments coincide with a February 28 report by The Ringer’s Bill Simmons that the NBA is planning to expand to Las Vegas and Seattle. He reported that James, along with Fenway Sports Group, would look to purchase the Vegas expansion franchise.
“I have some intel. I think the league is going to expand to Vegas and to Seattle,” Simmons said on the February 28 episode of “The Bill Simmons Podcast.” “And I think the leading contender to get that Vegas team is gonna be the Fenway Sports Group. They have Liverpool, they’ve bought the Penguins. They’ve been circling different NBA teams for a while. I think they looked at Minnesota, and I think they’re the leading contender to Vegas.
“If I had to bet on a LeBron scenario, it would be for him to be involved with whatever happens with that, where he is the point man of that Vegas team. … I think that is scenario A for LeBron. He wants to be an owner. I think he wants to run one of these teams and I think conversely, I think the NBA is looking at this going, ‘We can add these huge expansion [fees].'”
James, who is listed as a Fenway Sports Group partner on its website, already has an ownership stake in Liverpool FC, Boston Red Sox and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Could LeBron Team Up With Bronny in Las Vegas?
Because he will turn 38 this year, James’ playing career might not coincide with the placement of an expansion franchise, in which case he probably would have to settle for being a traditional owner after his retirement from playing.
If James is still playing when expansion happens, could he look to finish his career by teaming up with his oldest son, 17-year-old Bronny, in Las Vegas?
“How is that going to work with him playing basketball? I don’t know,” Simmons said on his podcast. “Could it be Fenway Sports Group buys Vegas and then LeBron plays for them for two years and then eventually joins as the lead owner? I don’t know.
“Could you see Adam Silver bending the rules and making it so that an owner can also play for the team? Would you put it past Adam Silver? He’s bent over for the players in all these different ways, right? Bent over to their demands, could he change the rules for that? I don’t know. I’m just saying, the Vegas thing, I would watch that.”
As recently as last week, NBA commissioner Adam Silver downplayed expansion rumors.
James has one year remaining on his current contract with the Lakers and will become a free agent in 2023 if he does not sign an extension this offseason. On June 2, Forbes reported that James had officially become a billionaire, making history as the first active NBA player to achieve this financial status.