The Phoenix Suns were sold for $4 billion on Tuesday, easily surpassing the previous record set by Joe Tsai when he bought the Brooklyn Nets for $2.35 billion in 2019. Former ESPN personality and current Ringer podcaster Bill Simmons considers that a significant development, establishing a floor for future NBA ownership bids while potentially laying the groundwork for expansion into new cities.
For months, if not years, Simmons has speculated LeBron James wants to bring a team to Las Vegas, an ambition that could be accomplished with backing from John Henry, who already holds ownership stakes in the Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Penguins, Liverpool F.C. and RFK Racing. James has partnered with Henry before, investing in Fenway Sports Group as early as 2011 (the irony being that James has openly admitted to “hating” Boston fans, calling them “racist as f---“). LeBron has alluded to his Vegas aspirations on multiple occasions, first on The Shop (an interview series he cohosts with longtime business partner Maverick Carter) and again in October when the Lakers were in town for a preseason game against Phoenix.
Simmons doesn’t claim to be a news-breaker, though he’s been in the industry long enough to build a rolodex of trusted sources, suggesting his intel here is mostly accurate. Where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire, and right now, there’s plenty of smoke billowing out of LeBron’s chimney, maybe enough to get the fire department involved.
Whispers of Henry’s plot to join LeBron’s ownership group in Vegas comes with the Red Sox still reeling from the departure of Xander Bogaerts, spurning Boston for a better opportunity in San Diego. Never the most hands-on owner, Henry’s silence of late has been noticeable to fans, many of them frustrated by the team’s lack of urgency, losing Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez in free agency while making minimal progress in negotiations with Rafael Devers.
Has Henry stretched himself too thin, prioritizing his other business interests (including a potential bid for the Washington Commanders) at the Red Sox’ expense? Only Henry can answer that, though it sure seems like his mind could be elsewhere right now.
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