LeBron James just opened up about what he wants to do after his time with the Los Angeles Lakers ends. During a new episode of “The store” premiering on July 10, 2022, James announced that he wants to own an NBA team and is targeting a potential expansion franchise in Las Vegas.
The big question is if James would become the first player owner in NBA history. James would have to push for changes to current NBA rules to even make that possible.
“I want to own a team,” James explained. “Yes, I definitely want to buy a team. … Yes, I’d much rather own a team than talk [media job]. Yes, I want a team in Vegas. …Yes, I want the team in Vegas.”
Here’s a look at the viral interview clip that’s got basketball fans buzzing.
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James’ comments align with Bill Simmons’ Feb. 28 report from The Ringer that the NBA plans to add expansion franchises in Las Vegas and Seattle. Simmons added that James, along with Fenway Sports Group, would seek to buy the Vegas expansion franchise.
“I have some information, I think the league is going to expand into Vegas and into Seattle,” the analyst explained on The Bill Simmons Podcast. “And I think the lead contender for the Vegas team will be Fenway Sports Group. They have Liverpool, they bought the Penguins. They’ve been circling various NBA teams for a while. I think they’ve looked at Minnesota and I think they’re the leading contender for Vegas.
“If I had to bet on a LeBron scenario, it would be for him to be involved in everything that happens to him where he’s the point man on that Vegas team. … I think that’s scenario A for LeBron. He wants to be the owner. I think he wants to manage one of those teams and I think the other way around, I think the NBA is looking at that, ‘We can add this huge expansion [fees].'”
James already has interests in Liverpool FC, Boston Red Sox and Pittsburgh Penguins through Fenway Sports Group. The Lakers star’s comments come just days after Forbes reported that James has officially become a billionaire and made history as the first active NBA player to achieve that financial status.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has downplayed the expansion rumors, but rumors persist that the league will eventually add more teams. At age 37, James’ gaming career may not coincide with the timeline for an expansion franchise to officially launch.
James may have to settle for being a traditional owner after retiring as a player. If James is still playing when the expansion takes place, could the superstar look to end his career by teaming up with his eldest son Bronny James in Las Vegas?
“How is that supposed to work when he’s playing basketball? I don’t know,” Simmons added. “Could it be that Fenway Sports Group buys Vegas and then LeBron plays for them for two years and eventually comes in as the majority owner? I do not know.
“Could you see [NBA commissioner] Adam Silver bends the rules and makes it so an owner can also play for the team? Would you consider Adam Silver? He flexed in all these different ways for the players, right? Could he bow to their demands, could he change the rules to do so? I do not know. I’m just saying the Vegas thing, I’d check it out.
James has one year left on his current contract with the Lakers and will become a free agent in 2023 if he doesn’t sign an extension this offseason. If James passes on a contract extension, rumblings about his future during the Lakers’ 2022-23 season will only get louder.