Las Vegas Rumors
Then in 2017 Nick Mazzella, the general manager of the South Bay Lakers, was at the league’s Elite Mini Camp in Chicago with South Bay president Joey Buss when Caruso caught their eye. “I know if you see Alex on the street you’re not like, This guy must play basketball,” says Mazzella. “But he was just bodying up everybody, defending really well. He had some phenomenal finishes at the rim and then a chase-down block. He really stood out.” After the Chicago camp Mazzella persuaded Lawrence to have his client join the Lakers’ 2017 Summer League team in Las Vegas. When Caruso first met the Lakers’ coaching staff, they largely had the same reaction as most everyone else. “At the Summer League first practice, one of the coaches called me over and said, ‘Who gave the UPS guy a jersey?’ ” says Mazzella.
Most of the top American talent has signaled interest in playing at the Olympics, and also, players such as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown of Boston (who were on the 2019 team) are now among the best in the NBA. Colangelo said Team USA is continuing to hear of interest from the best the U.S. has to offer, with no whispers of anyone backing out, in part because it’s too early — who knows which teams are going to make deep playoff runs? The Americans are targeting a training camp starting about July 4 in Las Vegas.
It was surprising to hear Silver suggest $2.5 billion would not be enough to bring a team to Seattle, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Mexico City or any other rumored expansion market. $2.5 billion sounds like an astronomically high price—particularly when one considers no North American pro sports team has ever sold for more than $2.35 billion (see: Joe Tsai, Brooklyn Nets). Sportico valuations authority Peter Schwartz agreed noting that $2.5 billion is greater than the average NBA team valuation. “That’s not in accordance with pricing on past expansion fees paid in sports—with the slight exception of Seattle in the NHL.”
Another high-ranking team executive said it was unlikely any serious consideration of expansion would happen at least before the end of the 2021-22 season. At any rate, expansion remains the much more likely route for cities currently without NBA teams in the next few years than relocation. And Seattle is at the top of the list. Seattle stands ready, the obvious top candidate for expansion, with Las Vegas and Vancouver leading the list of cities that could be a second site if the NBA opted to expand by two.
Officials within the league office have floated a price tag of $2.5 billion each for two expansion teams to join the NBA in the near future, sources tell Brian Windhorst of ESPN. Unlike other major revenue streams, owners would not have to share that money with players and could result in $160 million per team, which would effectively eliminate the debt currently piling up. There could be multiple offers from cities like Seattle or Las Vegas.
Mark Cuban: “OK, maybe you can make that argument that it is. But it always comes down to, is there some incremental value? Like, having somebody in Vegas, having a team in Seattle, as an example. Will we increase the pie big enough to more than compensate the money that we’re giving them? “ … I’m not saying it’s not possible. I kind of like the idea at a lot of levels, because I think Seattle would add incremental value in different ways.”