City of Seattle

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: Extensions, Breakout Players, X Factors, Seattle

Why the sudden surge in two-year extensions for players such as Steven Adams and Larry Nance Jr.? It has a lot to do with the expiration of the league’s national TV contracts after the 2024/25 season, as Bryan Toporek of explains. The salary cap is expected to rise significantly the following season after those rights are negotiated. That provides incentives for veteran players to enter free agency again that summer.

We have more NBA-related topics:

  • What do Franz Wagner, Cade Cunningham and Nic Claxton have in common? They are some of the young players cited by ESPN Insiders as having potential breakout seasons, like the one Ja Morant enjoyed last season.
  • Then there are some veteran players whose presence on new teams could change the fortunes of those franchises. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor examines those X-factors, including the Mavericks’ Christian Wood, the Trail Blazers’ Jerami Grant and the Timberwolves’ Rudy Gobert.
  • The Clippers and Trail Blazers are playing a preseason game in Seattle and that has renewed the discussion of the NBA eventually having another franchise in the city, Law Murray of The Athletic writes. The state-of-the-art Climate Pledge Arena – the rejuvenated version of KeyArena, where the SuperSonics played – sparks hope that the NBA will give the city an expansion team.

Seattle Kraken CEO Urges Patience On NBA Expansion

The SuperSonics may eventually return, but the man who would help bring the NBA back to Seattle is urging fans to be patient. Tod Leiweke, CEO of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken, told Aaron Levine of Fox 13 that the city is ready to welcome back professional basketball, but he’s willing to do it on the NBA’s timetable.

There was excitement last week amid rumors that the league might be preparing to announce expansion plans at preseason games in Seattle and Las Vegas. Leiweke didn’t directly address those reports, but he said everything is in place for whenever the NBA is ready to expand.

“We think the best thing that we can do is not ever get ahead of the league,” Leiweke said. “They’ve got big issues coming: They’re in a CBA discussion, and they’ve got broadcast deals coming up. In due time, they will get to this. And in due time, we’re going to be well positioned.”

The Kraken play in Climate Pledge Arena, the Sonics’ former home, which was renovated starting in December 2018 and was renamed in 2020. In addition to the hockey team, the facility also houses the WNBA’s Seattle Storm and the Seattle University men’s basketball team and will get a franchise in the American Hockey League this fall. It can hold up to 18,300 people for basketball, and Leiweke believes it’s ready for the NBA.

“The hard work is done, building a world class arena,” he said. “That’s why the team left. We now have that world class arena in place. It will stand the test of time. The building is phenomenal for basketball. And we’re super excited about the Clippers playing the Portland Trail Blazers here. And in fact, two games that are gonna play here, the first NBA game in our building will happen that first week in October – and we’re going to have a packed house and in our own Seattle way we will tell the world we are here. We are ready.”

Although Leiweke is convinced that the city is ready for the Sonics, there are many things out of his control. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has repeatedly stated that expansion isn’t an immediate priority, although Seattle is considered a very strong candidate whenever it does happen.

“We have an owner that owns part of an NBA team,” Leiweke said. “So there’s a built-in affinity there. And I would just say, Aaron, I came back to make some stuff happen. And we’re not done yet. And so, I don’t want to get ahead of the commissioner. But we’ve tried to do everything right. From privately financing a building, to saving a historic landmark, to embedding more capacitors and getting the monorail fixed, being great partners with the Storm, to building a training center. We’ve done everything right. But we’re not done. And we know this town won’t be fulfilled until we bring the NBA back. But I’ll leave it at that.”

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.

L.A. Notes: Powell, Seattle Game, LeBron, Lakers

Norman Powell is looking forward to a fresh start with the Clippers after suffering a left foot fracture shortly after being acquired in a February trade, writes David Yapkowitz of 213 Hoops. Powell played just three games before the injury, then returned for two games late in the season and two more in the play-in tournament. He said it was difficult trying to adapt to a new team without being on the court.

“It’s kind of a tough hill to climb on, only playing for three games and then coming back for the playoffs, it’s tough,” Powell said. “I really didn’t get a full chance to show what I bring to the table, just a little bit of a spark there.”

The Clippers envision Powell as a complementary scorer when Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are both healthy and as someone who can carry the offense when they’re not on the court. After winning a title with the Raptors in 2019, Powell believes he’s on another team that can reach that level.

“We got nine, 10 guys that can be starters on other teams and to have them all on one team is really big especially throughout the course of the season,” he said. “We showed last year that with injuries and things, guys can step up and play big minutes, but if everybody is healthy, it’s a real good shot to have a championship.”

There’s more NBA news from Los Angeles:

  • The Clippers and Trail Blazers will play a preseason contest October 3 in Seattle, marking the first time the former NBA city has hosted a game since 2018. The location was the idea of head coaches and longtime friends Tyronn Lue and Chauncey Billups, who both have team owners with ties to the Seattle area, according to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times.
  • LeBron Jamesnew extension will put the Lakers in a tight financial situation over the next two years, says Bobby Marks of ESPN (video link). If Talen Horton-Tucker and Damian Jones both pick up their player options for the 2023/24 season, the team will have just $22MM in cap space with only five players under contract. If the Lakers keep next year’s first-round pick, that number could fall to about $19MM (depending on where exactly the pick lands), which isn’t nearly enough to sign a high-level free agent.
  • Jovan Buha of The Athletic analyzes the Lakers‘ schedule, which is loaded with tough games early in the season.

Expansion Considered Unlikely Until After Next TV Contract

If expansion is in the NBA’s future, it probably won’t happen until after the next television contract is negotiated, Marc Stein writes in a story for Substack.

NBA owners aren’t in a hurry to add two new teams before working out the new deal, which could double the current revenue that they get from TV. That contract is valued at $24 billion over nine years and will expire following the 2024/25 season. The next television deal is expected to significantly raise the value of each franchise and will eventually increase the expansion fees that the new teams will have to pay.

The owners would also like to finalize a new collective bargaining agreement with the union before they consider expansion, Stein adds. Negotiations with the NBPA have already started, and either side can opt out of the current CBA in December.

During his annual NBA Finals press conference, commissioner Adam Silver dismissed the idea that Seattle and Las Vegas are being targeted for expansion teams in 2024. However, Stein states that those two cities should be considered heavy favorites when expansion does happen, noting that Silver was very complimentary to both of them at his media session.

“Those are wonderful markets,” Silver said. “We were in Seattle. I’m sorry we are no longer there. We have a WNBA team in Seattle in an almost brand-new building that’s doing spectacular. And Las Vegas, where we will be at our summer league in July, has shown itself to be a great sports market as well.”

Silver Addresses Expansion, Blazers, All-NBA Teams, In-Season Tournament

The NBA isn’t planning to expand in the near future, according to commissioner Adam Silver. During his annual press conference prior to Game 1 of the Finals, he shot down a report that the league is targeting Seattle and Las Vegas for expansion in 2024, Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press reports.

“We are not discussing that at this time,” Silver said.

Silver said the league will inevitably expand and called Seattle and Las Vegas “wonderful markets.” However, he cited a lack of top-tier talent as a reason for pumping the brakes on expanding in the next couple of seasons.

“There still are only so many of the truly top-tier super talents to go around,” he said. “That is something on the mind of the other teams as we think about expansion.”

Here are some of the other highlights from Silver’s press conference:

  • With many teams moving toward position-less lineups, All-NBA teams may be determined differently in future seasons. “We’re going to discuss that with the players and sit down once again and see if there’s a better way to do it,” Silver said.
  • Amid reports that Nike co-founder Phil Knight and Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Alan Smolinisky made an offer to buy the Trail Blazers for more than $2 billion, Silver stated the Blazers will eventually be sold and he hopes they’ll remain in Portland. The Blazers released a statement on Thursday saying the team is not for sale. “At some point, the team will be sold,” Silver said. “I don’t have any sense of the precise timing. … This is a hugely a complex estate, and although it’s been several years, these things take time.”
  • An in-season tournament is still a possibility but “we’re not there yet,” Silver said. With so many teams giving key players nights off during various points of the season, Silver wants to ensure the tournament is competitive. “We want to make sure we have a system where our best players are incentivized to be on the floor,” Silver said.

And-Ones: Seattle, Las Vegas, Expansion, Baker, Tatum

The NBA may have earmarked Seattle and Las Vegas as potential expansion locations. According to John Canzano of 750 The Game, the league is eyeing both cities if it adds expansion teams, though no further details have been made available. Canzano made his comments on Seattle radio station 93.3 KJR (Twitter link).

It’s worth noting that a similar report was shot down by the league in March, as Chris Daniels of wrote at the time. However, several players and league officials hold Seattle in high regard, and Las Vegas is currently used by the NBA for its annual summer league, which will be held July 7-17 this year.

Here are some other odds and ends from the basketball universe:

  • The Thunder have received a summer league commitment from Robert Baker, his agent Jerry Dianis told Hoops Rumors. Baker, a 6’10” forward, played with the Kings’ G League affiliate this year. The 23-year-old also played collegiately at Harvard from 2017-20.
  • Celtics star Jayson Tatum would like to see some changes to the All-NBA Team voting, per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. Tatum received All-NBA First Team honors, but he was left off last year’s three teams — costing him tens of millions on his current deal, as Bontemps notes. Among Tatum’s adjustments would be making the teams positionless. He used Joel Embiid as an example, since Embiid finished second in Most Valuable Player voting this season, but was relegated to the All-NBA Second Team because the MVP winner, Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, made the First Team. Tatum also voiced his concerns about the process back in February.

And-Ones: Brantley, NBA Awards, Seattle, Brogdon

Former NBA player Jarrell Brantley has been sued by Russia’s UNICS Kazan after he left the country, Ian Begley on tweets. The Russian club has sued Brantley for $250K after he returned to the U.S. with his wife and infant daughter. The forward will pursue G League opportunities but he could be blocked from playing in that league because he requires permission from Kazan. Brantley played 37 games with the Jazz from 2019-21.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • It’s a coin flip between Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic in the race for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award, Zach Harper of The Athletic opines. Ja Morant has moved up to the third spot with his offensive outbursts in recent weeks. Harper updates his rankings on numerous postseason awards in his column.
  • Seattle mayor Bruce Harrell is confident the NBA will return to the city, but the league denied that any expansion plan is in the works, Kurt Helin of NBC Sports writes. “The odds are high,” Harrell said. “We’re very intentional about it. I chase down rumors and I chase down actual people in a position to make that happen. I feel good about our opportunity.” A league spokesman told NBC Sports that there’s “no truth” to a report that expansion is on the front burner this offseason.
  • Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon has some interest in playing for the Polish national team and the country’s basketball federation will try to make it a reality, according to a report. Brogdon’s connection to Poland comes from his wife, who has Polish roots and relatives who live in the country.

And-Ones: Toronto, Seattle, Ramasar, Lakers’ Arena

The NBA sent out a memo to its teams on Tuesday updating them on the changes to the cross-border travel rules that the Canadian government announced last month and confirming that unvaccinated players won’t be permitted to play in Toronto.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), a player who misses a game in Toronto due to his vaccination status would be subject to a salary reduction for that game. The amount of that reduction would presumably be 1/91.6th of the player’s salary, as reported in October.

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

  • Most NBA insiders view it as a “mere formality” that if and when the NBA expands, Seattle will get a team, writes John Hollinger of The Athletic. Hollinger adds that most people he has talked to believe that Climate Pledge Arena – a renovated version of the SuperSonics’ Key Arena – would be the home of Seattle’s eventual expansion team. The arena is already hosting the NHL’s Seattle Kraken.
  • In an interesting piece for The Athletic, Mike Vornukov spoke to veteran agent Todd Ramasar about what his job entails beyond negotiating contracts, how he navigates the draft and free agency, and what impact the new NIL rules for NCAA players will have on his recruiting process.
  • Steven Kalifowitz, the chief marketing officer for, talked to Bill Shea of The Athletic about why the company was willing to pay $700MM for the naming rights to the Lakers‘ arena despite the fact that he knows many fans will keep calling it the Staples Center.
  • Over 60% of the NBA players eligible for booster vaccines have received them, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press, who tweets that there will be a push to get that number higher before the holidays.