Posted on: March 1, 2022, 01:34h.
Last updated on: March 1, 2022, 01:34h.
This is supposed to be the year in which Las Vegas learns its fate as a potential home of an NBA franchise and while an official announcement from the league hasn’t materialized as of yet, one pundit believes the association’s marriage with the US casino center is a done deal.
On a recent episode of his eponymous podcast, The Ringer founder and sports journalist Bill Simmons said he has “intel” indicating the NBA is poised to add two teams and that Las Vegas will be one of the expansion cities.
I think the league is going to expand to Vegas and Seattle,” said Simmons.
Neither city is a stretch to land an NBA franchise. Sin City has long been a hotbed of NBA rumors, particularly after adding the NHL’s Golden Nights and the NFL’s Raiders. As for Seattle, the city was home to the Supersonics from 1967 through 2008 before the franchise was sold and moved to Oklahoma City, becoming the Thunder in the process.
Simmons also speculates that current Los Angeles Lakers star and the face of the NBA LeBron James could be involved in an ownership group for a Las Vegas Team.
“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,” said Simmons. “And I haven’t heard that mentioned. I don’t care if it gets aggregated because I think I’m right.”
James’s current contract with the Lakers runs through the end of the 2022-23 season. While he hasn’t commented publicly on any involvement with bringing a team to Las Vegas, James has previously made clear he’d like to be an NBA owner. He’s a part owner of the Boston Red Sox and was involved with helping Renee Montgomery and others acquire the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream last year.
What is clear is that the newest NBA teams won’t come cheap as Simmons speculates each to sell for $6.5 billion to $7 billion.
The NBA currently has 30 teams — 15 apiece in the Eastern and Western conferences. Adding franchises in Las Vegas and Seattle would likely mean two teams currently in the west would be moved to the east.
The Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves and the New Orleans Pelicans could be logical candidates to slide into the east if the NBA adds teams in Las Vegas and Seattle, but the league hasn’t commented to that effect as of yet.
As for Sin City, the heightened NBA speculation arrives as rumors regarding a possible move to the city by Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Oakland A’s are gaining momentum, too. If Las Vegas can pull off that double play, it would have franchises from each of the four major North American sports leagues.