The truth about NBA expansion
LeBron just whipped up a fresh frenzy about a new NBA team in Las Vegas, but this week’s around-the-league notes lead off by explaining why even King James will have to be patient
LeBron James hasn't played in an NBA game since April 1. That was 70 days ago.
That is also apparently immaterial when it comes to James getting his name in the news.
His Los Angeles Lakers finished a humbling 11th in the Western Conference this season, but James — and, for that matter, Russell Westbrook — has seemingly been part of the daily discourse throughout the NBA Finals.
First came the recent report by Forbes that the financial outlet classifies James as a billionaire. Then there was James' teasing suggestion that he might be looking to go the Draymond Green route and start his own podcast. Next up: In a preview clip from his show The Shop promoting an episode that debuted Friday, James made it clear that he hopes to be part of the ownership group that brings an expansion team to Las Vegas "sooner than later."
This is where, pesky realists that we are, duty compels us to interject a few doses of caution on the expansion front:
🏀 Adam Silver has consistently said that expansion is not imminent. The stance is notable because …
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One year old! (Almost!)
The NBA draft is June 23. Free agency starts June 30.
Between those two tentpoles of the NBA calendar, I will celebrate my own milestone event: June 25 — whoa — marks one full year of operation for this Substack.
I can’t believe how fast Year 1 has gone and how much fun it's been. The launch was always going to be tricky, because I had to serve out two weeks' notice at The New York Times before I could actually start writing on July 12, 2021, but earlier this week I published post No. 200 ... after it was originally suggested to me to aim for 100 posts annually. I feel a great deal of responsibility to deliver the quality and density of coverage that my amazingly loyal audience deserves and I am so, so grateful for the tremendous support you've provided for me to cover the league as an independent journalist and to help us build a real community here.
Year 2 will be even better now that I am getting a firmer handle on the content that seems to work the best. Suggestions are always welcome via firstname.lastname@example.org.
(And, yes, Jon Saur: I know I owe you a mailbag in the worst way. I promise it will happen at the soonest opportunity. The madness in #thisleague just never seems to stop long enough for mailbag frivolity. But I will strive to do better on that front.)
Those who subscribed right from the inception of The Stein Line will soon be receiving their renewal notices via email. I hope everyone who has already signed up will continue on this journey with me by reupping for Year 2 — for all the news, rumbles, opinion, storytelling, historical perspective, truth-telling and, most of all, NBA coverage that puts the reader first always.
I love you guys. (Norman Dale voice.)
Question of the Week
I was wondering ...
Will everyone be cool with me skipping the philosophical pondering that typically takes place in this space on a TWIB Friday to get right to the newsy dot-dot-dots?
I suspect everyone will.
Dot Dot Dot (🏀🏀🏀)
🏀 As noted in the lead item about LeBron and expansion, Russell Westbrook chatter has also been a constant throughout these NBA Finals, especially after new Lakers coach Darvin Ham spoke so hopefully earlier this week about the prospect of reintegrating Westbrook after Russ’ first season as a Laker spun so far off the track. Ham's optimism was naturally greeted with considerable skepticism, but the Lakers continue to signal — at least for now with three months to go until training camp opens — that they do not want to force a Westbrook trade that costs them additional assets. Regarding the long-running idea that Westbrook could be swapped again for Houston's John Wall …