City of Las Vegas

And-Ones: Bronny, LeBron, Shaq, Bacon, Vaughn

Bronny James took another step toward making his collegiate debut on Sunday, as he warmed up with his USC teammates prior to a game for the first time this season, according to an ESPN report. LeBron’s son suffered cardiac arrest in July during a team workout.

“He went through warmups with the team. He’s a big part of our program and our team. He’s a terrific teammate,” USC coach Andy Enfield said. “We look forward to hopefully one day getting him back on the court, but when that day is, that’s not my decision. We’re going to be patient and go through the process.”

Bronny was considered a potential first-round pick prior to his health issues.

We have more from around the basketball team:

  • Shaquille O’Neal has previously expressed he’d like to own a piece of an NBA franchise in Las Vegas if the league expands there. He hinted that LeBron James might also be part of the ownership group, according to Sportando’s Alessandro Maggi. “If there’s ever an NBA team coming here, I’d definitely like to be involved,” O’Neal said. “With LeBron, without LeBron, I just want to be involved.”
  • Former NBA wing Dwayne Bacon has signed with China’s Shanghai Sharks, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando tweets. Bacon played in Greece last season and also joined an Israeli team for three exhibition games in the U.S. this fall. The former second-round pick’s last NBA campaign was in 2020/21 with Orlando.
  • Former first-round pick Rashad Vaughn has signed a contract with Greece’s Apollon Patras BC, Sportando relays. Vaughn, who was drafted by the Bucks with the No. 17 pick in 2015, spent the 2022/23 season in the NBA G League with the Cavaliers’ affiliate, the Cleveland Charge. His last taste of NBA action came in 2017/18, when he played a combined 28 games with Milwaukee, Orlando and Brooklyn.

L.A. Notes: Clippers, Harden, Martin, LeBron, Reaves

The Clippers have offered the Sixers a package consisting of a first-round pick, a pick swap, and expiring contracts for James Harden, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on NBA Countdown (YouTube video link).

While Los Angeles isn’t inclined to increase that offer and bid against itself, the team is open to exploring the market to see if it can acquire a different piece for that first-rounder that might appeal more to Philadelphia, per Wojnarowski.

Daryl Morey‘s looking at the Clippers and saying, ‘Steve Ballmer‘s never been under .500. They will figure out a way to have a competitive team. That may not be a great pick,'” Woj explained. “And so I think for the Clippers right now, it’s, ‘We’re not trying to offer you more. We’re not giving you that 2030 first-round pick. But let’s see what we can turn that 2028 pick (into), see if we can flip it,’ and then see if there’s something that more interests Daryl Morey.

“That being said, there’s no traction, they’re not close to anything.”

As we wait to see if the Clippers can pull off a trade for Harden, here are a few more notes on the NBA’s two Los Angeles teams:

  • New Clippers wing Kenyon Martin Jr. is bringing athleticism and versatility to a veteran roster, writes Janis Carr of The Orange County Register. Head coach Tyronn Lue, who praised Martin’s passing and his ability to push the ball up the floor, suggested the team will find different ways to get its offseason acquisition on the court. “I see him as a basketball player at the three, four, five, wherever we can use him,” Lue said. “Just his athleticism, being able to switch, being able to guard different positions, being able to roll to the basket, run the floor.”
  • Asked by Arash Markazi of The Messenger (Twitter video link) why he has focused on eventually owing an NBA franchise in Las Vegas rather than anywhere else, Lakers star LeBron James said it “just makes sense” to have a team in the city. “You have the Raiders here, you have the (Golden) Knights here, you have the Aces here, you’ve got F1 coming very soon, All-Star Weekend has been here a few times, you’ve got the NBA Summer League that’s very popular,” James said. “… I think adding an NBA franchise here would just add to the momentum that’s going on in this town. … I think it’s only a matter of time. And I hope I’m part of that time.”
  • Steve Kerr was very impressed with Austin Reaves after coaching the Lakers guard this summer with Team USA, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic. “Way better to coach him than coach against him,” Kerr said. “I loved coaching him. … He’s really emerging as one of the better young guys in the league.”

And-Ones: Shaq, Kidd-Gilchrist, Israel, Brown, Colson, Williamson

Hall of Fame center and TNT commentator Shaquille O’Neal wants a piece of a Las Vegas franchise if the NBA expands there, he told Arash Markazi of

“I would like to have my own group,” O’Neal said. “I know Vegas hasn’t been awarded an NBA team yet but if they ever get to a point where they are awarded a team, I would like to be a part of that. I don’t want to partner up with nobody. I want it all for myself.”

Well, he’ll need some partners — O’Neal’s worth is reportedly around $400MM. NBA franchises are selling in the billions. O’Neal adds that he’s lived in the city for over 20 years and wants to see it continue to grow.

We have more from around the international basketball world:

  • The Knicks waived Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in December 2020 and he never played in the NBA again. New details have surfaced regarding Kidd-Gilchrist’s sudden disappearance from the league, Stefan Bondy of the New York Post reports. According to a lawsuit filed in a Charlotte court, the reason is a COVID-19-related heart condition that should have made Kidd-Gilchrist eligible for a insurance payout. Kidd-Gilchrist sued London-based insurance company Lloyd’s Underwriters for $40MM for refusing to pay him after a diagnosis of “myopericarditis,” an inflammation of the heart muscle. Another doctor “found” by Lloyd’s Underwriters claimed Kidd-Gilchrist suffered from a different heart ailment and wasn’t “disabled under the policy,” according to the lawsuit.
  • FIBA Europe has suspended all games involving Israeli teams in all competitions until further notice due to the war in that country and safety issues at those games, Sportando relays. The suspension includes all upcoming home and away games of five Israeli teams in EuroCup Women and the FIBA Europe Cup.
  • In a related topic, foreign players on Maccabi Tel Aviv have left the country for Cyprus, according to another Sportando post. That group includes ex-NBA players Lorenzo Brown and Bonzie Colson.
  • Which five players will define this season? According to The Ringer’s Michael Pina, that group includes the Pelicans’ Zion Williamson and the Celtics’ Kristaps Porzingis.

And-Ones: Kerr, Expansion, Team USA, Giles, Barea

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, who is currently guiding Team USA as it prepares for the upcoming World Cup, is enthusiastic about the possibility of NBA expansion, particularly to Las Vegas and Seattle, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

It feels right,” Kerr said. “Obviously it’s not my department, but Vegas and Seattle seem to be such smart franchises. It’s a shame that we ever lost the Sonics in the first place. But as you look forward and you think of what we need, we need a couple of Western time slots. Think about all the doubleheaders on TV you have where the second game is starting at 8:40 central time. We lost a couple of West Coast time slots back when Seattle and Vancouver left the league. It hurt the TV schedule, which hurt the whole league schedule.

You factor in Vegas for the time slot. But also just how great of a venue this is for summer league, USA Basketball, the fans here have proven they’ll come out, they love the Aces. The Knights just won the Stanley Cup, the Raiders are filling it up every Sunday. So this seems like a really good next team.”

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • The U.S. Select Team outplayed Team USA in a scrimmage on Friday, emerging victorious by a final score of 47-39 after two 10-minute periods. According to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, Kerr was unfazed by the senior team’s defeat. “It’s a time-honored tradition of USA Basketball,” Kerr said. “Everybody knows the Grant Hill, Bobby Hurley story from ’92 (defeating the Dream Team in a scrimmage ahead of the Barcelona Olympics). In 2019, for the last World Cup, the Select Team came in, kicked our butts, and that’s the whole point. You want to get great talent to come in and challenge you and that’s what the Select Team did today.”
  • Harry Giles‘ agent, Daniel Hazan, tells Ian Begley of that the free agent big man recently worked out for the Magic and has a workout scheduled with the Warriors next week (Twitter link). Giles will be in Miami on Saturday working out for Brooklyn. The former first-round pick is eligible for a two-way contract and all three clubs have at least one two-way spot available, as our tracker shows. Giles, who dealt with major knee injuries early in his career, last played for Portland in 2020/21.
  • Former NBA veteran J.J. Barea will be the new head coach of Puerto Rico’s Guaynabo Mets, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter). It will be the longtime guard’s first coaching stint, Charania adds.

And-Ones: Kaminsky, Okafor, Jones, Las Vegas

Frank Kaminsky is reportedly drawing interest from Maccabi Tel Aviv, Cesare Milanti of relays. Kaminsky has been in the NBA since 2015 with 413 regular-season games under his belt. An unrestricted free agent this summer, the veteran forward/center appeared in a total of 36 games last season for the Hawks and Rockets. He’s averaged 8.8 points and 3.8 rebounds in 19.8 minutes during his career.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Jahlil Okafor is another veteran NBA big man who might be signing a contract overseas. relays a report by Olga Lorent from Onda Regional (Twitter link) that Spain’s Casademont Zaragoza is close to signing the 2015 lottery pick. Okafor hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since he played 27 games for the Pistons during the 2020/21 season. The former No. 3 overall pick signed a contract with the Hawks the subsequent offseason but was waived in October 2021.
  • Mason Jones has signed with the Turkish team Darussafaka, according to Sportando. Jones has appeared in a total of 36 NBA games, most recently a four-game stint with the Lakers during the 2020/21 season.
  • The Las Vegas Summer League has turned into a major event and the city will host the semifinals and final of the new in-season tournament. Mark Medina of takes a look at how Vegas has become an NBA hot spot.

And-Ones: Expansion, I. Thomas, Rubio, K. Chandler

NBA commissioner Adam Silver once again addressed the possibility of expansion during a press conference on Monday, telling reporters – including Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic – that the league will more seriously consider that possibility after completing the next media rights deal. The current media deal expires after the 2024/25 season.

Silver acknowledged that Las Vegas and Seattle are two markets the NBA will consider if and when the time comes, but stressed that the league hasn’t started that process and that it would involve more than just those two cities.

“We will look at this market,” he said from Vegas. “There’s no doubt there’s enormous interest in Seattle. That’s not a secret. There are other markets that have indicated interest. For the people who hear or read about this interview, we are not engaged in that process now. We’re not taking meetings right now with any potential groups. What we’re saying to everyone, privately is the same thing I’m saying publicly that there’ll be a very open process at the time already to consider expansion. But that’s not yet. That’s not yet now.”

Silver also addressed several other topics during his press conference in Las Vegas, including the influence of gambling on the sport and sovereign wealth funds purchasing stakes in NBA franchises. Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press and Tim Bontemps of ESPN have quotes from Silver on those issues, among others.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • As first tweeted by Jamal Crawford and later confirmed by the guard himself, Isaiah Thomas is among the veteran free agents conducting workouts for teams in Las Vegas as he looks to get back into the NBA. John Wall, Dion Waiters, and Harry Giles are a few of the other free agents who have worked out for NBA clubs in Vegas.
  • Could this be Ricky Rubio‘s last season in the NBA? According to a report from Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo, the veteran point guard is considering returning to his home country and playing for Barcelona in 2024. Rubio is under contract with the Cavaliers for two more seasons, though his ’24/25 salary is only partially guaranteed.
  • After being waived by Memphis last season, guard Kennedy Chandler is owed guaranteed salaries for the next two seasons. However, he’s not satisfied to simply cash those pay checks, telling Brian Lewis of The New York Post that he’s determined to get back on an NBA roster in 2023/24. “I don’t really care that they still have to pay me for two years. I really don’t care about that because I want to get paid more,” he said. “It’s not just about the money. I could say ‘Nah, I’m good.’ I could sign a regular G-League, or a two-way. But I want to push myself and get back on a contract with another team and get back to what I used to do and be me, be myself.”
  • Speaking to Howard Beck of GQ, veteran agent David Falk – who represented Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing, among other stars in the 1990s – explained why he finds NBA free agency “a little bit boring” these days. In Falk’s view, the league’s cap and contract rules have limited agents’ ability to get creative when they negotiate contracts. “The nature of being an agent, it’s become so restrictive that it doesn’t require a lot of skills,” he said. “Mathematically, only 30 percent of the contracts are negotiated. And I think that most players really don’t need agents today.”

And-Ones: CBA Changes, Free Agents, Las Vegas, Holland

Players signed using the newly created cap exception for second-round picks that will be included in the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement won’t count against the cap until July 31, Keith Smith of Spotrac reports (Twitter links).

In the past, teams looking to maximize their cap room have sometimes put off signing their second-round picks, since those players don’t have a cap hold until they sign. However, as Smith explains, the new rule will allow those players to sign immediately without affecting a team’s cap space for the first month of free agency. That will allow them to fully participate with their new teams in Summer League play.

According to Smith, the second-round pick exception will allow teams to sign players to three- or four-year contracts with team options in the final season. It will also give second-round draftees the opportunity to earn more than the rookie minimum in the first season (for three-year deals) or in the first two seasons (for four-year deals).

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype has another minor update on the new CBA, tweeting that the extend-and-trade restrictions will be loosened beginning in 2024 to allow for an extra year and a higher salary. Currently, an extension-eligible player who is traded must wait six months to sign a new deal that places him under contract for more than three total seasons (including his current deal) or features more than a 5% raise.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic shared his top free agent point guards, shooting guards, small forwards, power forwards, and centers based on his BORD$ formula. Among Hollinger’s most interesting rankings? Nikola Vucevic at sixth among centers, one spot behind Dwight Powell; and Rui Hachimura at 14th among power forwards, behind players like Trey Lyles and Oshae Brissett.
  • Sports and entertainment venue developer Tim Leiweke, the CEO of Oak View Group, spoke last week about his plans to build a 20,000 seat, NBA-ready arena as part of a massive Las Vegas development project that has a $10 billion budget and will be entirely privately financed. Howard Stutz of The Nevada Independent has the story, including the quotes from Leiweke.
  • Five-star recruit Ron Holland has officially signed with the G League Ignite, according to a press release from the team. We first covered Holland’s commitment to the Ignite last month.

And-Ones: Tanking, Expansion, Ignite, Dumars, Mekel

After Baxter Holmes of ESPN reported on comments Adam Silver made during a Q&A with Suns employees, the NBA commissioner appeared on ESPN’s NBA Today on Monday to further discuss some of the points he made during that session. In addition to clarifying that he wasn’t “deadly serious about relegation” when he broached that subject, Silver explained why he believes the league’s revamped draft lottery system reduces the incentive for teams to tank (link via Tim Bontemps of ESPN).

“You’re dealing with a 14% chance of getting the first pick,” Silver said. “I recognize at the end of the day analytics are what they are and it’s not about superstition. A 14% chance is better than a 1% chance or a no percent chance. But even in terms of straightforward odds, it doesn’t benefit a team to be the absolute worst team in the league, and even if you’re one of the poor-performing teams, you’re still dealing with a 14% chance.

“It’s one of these things where there’s no perfect solution, but we still think a draft is the right way to rebuild your league over time. We still think it makes sense among partner teams, where a decision was made where the worst-performing teams are able to restock with the prospects of the best players coming in. So we haven’t come up with a better system.”

Silver also addressed the topic of expansion. As Marc Stein relays (via Twitter), the commissioner said that Las Vegas would “make a great location from a franchise someday,” but repeated his usual line about the need for patience. Expansion won’t be on the table, according to Silver, until after the league has a new Collective Bargaining Agreement and television deal in place. The current CBA will expires in 2024, while the TV deal runs until 2025.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Senegalese guard Babacar Sane, a graduate of the NBA Academy, has signed with the G League Ignite, according to a press release from the team. Sane, 19, has represented Senegal in World Cup qualifiers and played in the Basketball Africa League. He signed with the Ignite for two years and will be eligible for the 2024 draft. Marc J. Spears of Andscape talked to the young guard about his G League deal and a potential path to the NBA.
  • NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Joe Dumars spoke to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today about his new role, explaining how he has adjusted to acting in the best interest of the league instead of any particular team. Dumars, whose position was previously held by Kiki VanDeWeghe, is in charge of player discipline — he was the one who announced, for instance, Grant Williamssuspension on Wednesday.
  • Veteran Israeli point guard Gal Mekel, who attended Wichita State and played for the Mavericks and Pelicans from 2013-14, has retired, according to agent Misko Raznatovic (Twitter link). Although Mekel’s time in the NBA was brief, he has enjoyed a 14-year professional career, playing in Israel, Italy, Russia, Serbia, and Spain during that time.

LeBron James Reiterates Desire For NBA Team In Las Vegas

After playing a preseason game in Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena on Wednesday, Lakers star LeBron James once again made it known publicly that he wants the NBA to expand to Las Vegas, and that he wants to be part of that expansion team’s ownership group, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“I would love to bring a team here at some point. That would be amazing,” James said, before directly addressing NBA commissioner Adam Silver. “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. So, I want the team here, Adam. Thank you.”

James previously expressed a desire to own an expansion team in Las Vegas during an episode of his show ‘The Shop: Uninterrupted.’

Las Vegas has been arguably the fastest-growing U.S. sports city in recent years, getting an expansion franchise in the NHL (the Golden Knights) and serving as the new home base for the NFL’s Raiders, who relocated from Oakland. Basketball also has a significant presence in the city — in addition to hosting the NBA’s annual Summer League, Vegas is the home of the 2022 WNBA champions, the Aces.

“I remember a day when you barely knew the NBA was in the city during Summer League,” Lakers head coach Darvin Ham said on Wednesday, according to Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times. “Now it’s a huge extravaganza. It’s a whole rollout, a whole layout of excitement and entertainment built around those 14 or 15 days the guys are here. I think Las Vegas is a hotbed for entertainment, obviously, and having the Raiders here now and the Aces.

“… I think it’s only a matter of time before Jerry West shows up permanently — that logo is on the jersey representing the city of Las Vegas. I think it’s a great city, the natural organic energy that’s here built into the city, it goes hand in hand with the level of sports that have been considered to be placed here. … It’s a no-brainer. Down the road, I don’t want to speak for the NBA or the commissioner, but I think at some point you’ll see a permanent NBA team here calling Las Vegas home.”

While Las Vegas and Seattle have been the subject of expansion rumors for years, Silver and the NBA have consistently pushed that conversation down the road. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), the league intends to negotiate its new television deal and Collective Bargaining Agreement before seriously considering expansion. So while the prospect of expanding to Vegas and Seattle is legitimate, it’s probably still a few years away.

That timeline would work out well for James, who is under contract for at least two more years, with a player option for the 2024/25 season. He would have to be retired as a player in order to own a team, according to McMenamin, who notes that LeBron would also need to link up with a deep-pocketed partner — the longtime NBA star reportedly has a net worth exceeding $1 billion, but a new NBA franchise would cost significantly more than that.

As James makes a public push for expansion to Vegas, Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times explores where things stand in Seattle, another city that is hosting NBA preseason games this fall. Those preseason games are being played at the Climate Pledge Arena, which was developed by the Oak View Group at the site of the SuperSonics’ old home, KeyArena. CEO Tim Leiweke believes the building is ready for an NBA team, but said he doesn’t want to pressure Silver and the league into making a decision.

“You don’t want to get ahead of the league, you don’t want to force a decision,” Leiweke said. “You don’t want to think at the end of the day that you have leverage or you have the ability to force an issue like this. You don’t. This is really first and foremost if and when Adam and the Board of Governors want to even consider it.”

And-Ones: Expansion, Seattle, Vegas, Draft Assets, Ignite

Is the NBA ready to move forward on its long-rumored plans to expand to Seattle and Las Vegas? Willie G. Ramirez of The Associated Press (Twitter link) says he has heard from multiple sources that the league wants to announce expansion when those two cities hosts preseason games this fall. The Clippers will play in Seattle on September 30 and October 3, while the Lakers are set to play in Vegas on October 5 and 6.

Despite Ramirez’s report, it’s still probably premature to get excited about an impending announcement. Rumors of possible expansion have simmered off and on for years, and the NBA has repeatedly shot them down, indicating that any plans to add more teams are on the back-burner. Still, it seems increasingly likely that expansion is coming sooner or later, with Seattle and Las Vegas atop the league’s list of potential destinations.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • As rumors about expansion resurface, Evan Sidery of considers what an expansion draft might look like if the NBA uses the same rules it did for its last expansion draft (the Bobcats in 2004). Of course, Sidery’s hypothetical expansion draft is based on teams’ current rosters, and any expansion team is unlikely to enter the league for a few years, but it’s still an interesting exercise that shows what kinds of players might go unprotected.
  • Following the Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell blockbuster trades, the Jazz have the strongest collection of future draft picks of any NBA team, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link), who ranks Utah’s draft assets slightly ahead of the Thunder‘s. The Spurs have the third-best stash of future picks, per Marks. The Pelicans, Rockets, Knicks, Magic, and Pacers round out his top eight, in that order.
  • The G League Ignite have officially announced the additions of Australian prospect Mojave King and Canadian prospect Leonard Miller, confirming the signings today in a press release. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony previously reported that King and Miller would be joining the Ignite.