Lakers' LeBron James Says He Wants to Buy NBA Franchise: 'I Want a Team in Vegas'

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJune 9, 2022

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) shoots during an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans in Los Angeles, Friday, April 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
AP Photo/Ashley Landis

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has reiterated his desire to become an NBA owner.

James, who expressed his ownership goal last year, said on The Shop that he's honing in on Las Vegas as the franchise's home, suggesting he could take charge of an expansion team:

UNINTERRUPTED @uninterrupted

"I want a team in Vegas." 👀 <a href="https://twitter.com/KingJames?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KingJames</a> hints at his next big move on an all new episode of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TheShop?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TheShop</a> TOMORROW at 9 am PT on our YouTube! 📺 <a href="https://t.co/HIZKsBYPGF">pic.twitter.com/HIZKsBYPGF</a>

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver denied rumors the league could expand as early as 2024 during a press conference before the NBA Finals last week.

"That talk is not true," Silver told reporters. "At least maybe there are people talking who are not at the league office about us potentially expanding after the 2024 season. We are not discussing that at this time. As I said before, at some point, this league invariably will expand, but it's not at this moment that we are discussing it."

Nevertheless, Bill Simmons of The Ringer predicted the LeBron-Vegas connection in February:

Bill Simmons @BillSimmons

From today’s BS Podcast: Why I believe the NBA is going to expand to Vegas and Seattle sooner than later, and why I believe LeBron will be part of the Vegas ownership group when it happens.<a href="https://t.co/gBc5W3ixle">pic.twitter.com/gBc5W3ixle</a>

James has made substantial progress toward making himself a viable candidate to lead an ownership group in the financial aspect.

Chase Peterson-Withorn of Forbes reported the 37-year-old Ohio native is the first active NBA player to become a billionaire. Michael Jordan has reached that threshold, but only after his playing days were over.

Now James is aiming to follow in MJ's ownership footsteps. The Chicago Bulls legend is the chairman of the Charlotte Hornets.

There are still far more questions than answers, though.

James continues to play at an All-Star level and has stated his hope of finishing his career alongside his son Bronny James, a 2024 draft prospect.

"My last year will be played with my son," the four-time MVP told Jason Lloyd of The Athletic in February. "Wherever Bronny is at, that's where I'll be. I would do whatever it takes to play with my son for one year. It's not about the money at that point."

Meanwhile, it's also unclear whether James would be willing to join an existing ownership group if the NBA's expansion process shows no signs of acceleration, and if doing so would raise the prospect that the franchise relocates to Vegas.

He's getting a taste of sports ownership as a partner of the Fenway Sports Group, which counts MLB's Boston Red Sox and Liverpool of the English Premier League among its teams.

It sounds like he's focused on adding an NBA organization to his portfolio in the coming years, though it may take a while for the details to come together.