Lebron James has frequently adhered to the NBA long-rumored expansion team in Las Vegas, but he’s not the only player interested in owning a team there. In October, Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal expressed interest in managing that team. …and do it on your own terms. “I’d like to have my own group,” O’Neal said. The messenger at a charity event based in Las Vegas. “I know that Vegas has not been given a NBA team yet, but if they ever get to a point where they are given a team, I would like to be a part of that. I don’t want to associate with anyone. I want it all for me”.

On Sunday, however, O’Neal sang a slightly different tune. “If an NBA team is ever going to come here, I would definitely like to be involved,” O’Neal said, according to The Arash Markazai of the Messenger. “With LeBron, without LeBron, I just want to be involved.”

In 2022, James campaigned openly for a potential Las Vegas team after playing a preseason game there. James previously partnered with Fenway Sports Group to buy a 2% stake in the British soccer team Liverpool in 2011, so a rumor that has persisted since then is that James would work with that group to buy an expansion team from the NBA.

James and O’Neal were once teammates in the Cleveland Knights, although that partnership lasted only the 2009-10 season. After O’Neal retired, he became a minority owner of the company. Kings of Sacramento from 2013 to 2022. He currently works as a broadcaster on TNT’s Inside the NBA, while James remains an active player for the the Los Angeles Lakersand would presumably have to retire before taking over another team.

As a minority owner of the Kings, O’Neal is not known to have exercised any power on the board. James would presumably want to have some degree of control over the basketball operations of any team he buys, if not direct governance. After Michael Jordan’s sale of the charlotte hornets, no player currently holds majority ownership or governance of an NBA franchise. Several players, such as Dwyane Wade with the utah jazz and Grant Hill with the Atlanta FalconsThey currently own minority stakes in teams, and there is no reason why multiple former players couldn’t own minority stakes in a single team.

For now, the NBA is focused on completing a new national media rights deal. Expansion will presumably enter the conversation more firmly once the deal is completed, with Las Vegas and Seattle being the two markets most likely to receive teams. O’Neal and James are interested in joining ownership groups, and may even do so together, but, for now, it’s too early to predict who will actually control the new teams when the dust settles.

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