LeBron James’ short-term contract could lead to him becoming the face of a Las Vegas NBA expansion team

LeBron James
Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Despite some offseason drama, LeBron James isn’t leaving the Los Angeles Lakers. After opting out of his contract, LeBron reportedly considered taking a team-friendly deal to allow Los Angeles to pursue a top free agent. But that didn’t happen.

Once the Lakers missed on their key targets, James returned to Los Angeles on a two-year max extension worth $103 million. Yet, LeBron also has a player option worth $53.9 million next season, meaning he could simply opt out and begin the dance all over again.

Aside from James currently being the NBA’s oldest player at the age of 39, there’s another reason why he may have signed such a short-term extension that allows more freedom next summer.

LeBron James eyes NBA expansion in Las Vegas

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, James wants to “become the face” of an expansion NBA franchise in Las Vegas.

“The biggest thing, other than health, that we’re gonna see that is going to determine when the end of LeBron’s career is when the owners of the league set forth a timeline about when they’re gonna establish that expansion team in Las Vegas. I suspect once the TV rights deals get wrapped up … they’re gonna bring expansion to the table. (James) wants to partner with partners to become the face of the franchise in Las Vegas.”

Brian Windhorst on LeBron James joining NBA’s Las Vegas expansion team

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has openly discussed the idea of NBA expansion, and Las Vegas, along with Seattle, would seemingly be at the front of the list. Yet, hearing that LeBron has a special interest in teaming up with Las Vegas is a fascinating development.

It’s not known whether James would want to be the face of the franchise as a player or as some sort of executive. But we wouldn’t put anything past LeBron at this point, if he wants to play, he could play, but if he wants to be a decision-maker, or lead an investment group, he could probably do that too. Either way, the thought of a Las Vegas expansion team clearly intrigues him, according to Windhorst.

Related: NBA insider reveals Bronny James’ role with Los Angeles Lakers during rookie season

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