LAS VEGAS (AP) — LeBron James came to Las Vegas for a preseason game. And a pitch.
James, who has spoken in the past about wanting to eventually own an NBA franchise — with Las Vegas on his mind — sent a crystal-clear message to Commissioner Adam Silver on Wednesday night, reminding him of his future plans.
“I know Adam is in Abu Dhabi right now, I believe. But he probably sees every single interview and transcript that comes through from NBA players,” James said after the Lakers’ matchup with the Phoenix Suns. “So, I want the team here, Adam. Thank you.”
Silver is indeed in Abu Dhabi, for preseason games this week between the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks. He has spoken of expansion plans many times in recent years, but there has also been a clear belief that the NBA won’t move forward on adding teams until the next Collective Bargaining Agreement and television deals are complete.
That said, Silver has called Las Vegas “a great sports market.” The NBA already has deep ties to Las Vegas, and holds its Summer League there.
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“As I said before, at some point, this league invariably will expand, but it’s not at this moment that we are discussing it,” Silver said earlier this year. “But one of the factors in expanding is the potential dilution of talent.”
James said in June on his show “The Shop: Uninterrupted” on HBO Sports that he wants to own a team and revealed his plans to have it in Las Vegas, which has long been mentioned as a possible expansion site.
Fans in Las Vegas gave James loud ovations Wednesday night, and he responded by scoring 23 points in 18 minutes. He appeared in only the first half, making 8 of his 11 shots.
He looked right at home. And if Las Vegas becomes a business home one day, James clearly wouldn’t mind.
“It’s the best fan base in the world and I would love to bring a team here at some point,” James said. “That would be amazing.”