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NBA Team to Las Vegas?

Discussion in 'NBA Dish' started by boomboom, Jul 15, 2010.

  1. boomboom

    boomboom I GOT '99 PROBLEMS

    Sep 29, 1999
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    While the economy is royally in the ****ter here in Vegas, it appears that more noise is starting to be heard about this becoming a reality. Vegas is really starting to jones for some sort of major league team...with NHL and/or NBA being the most likely.


    NBA team ‘under contract’ if Las Vegas builds an arena

    By Joe Schoenmann (contact)
    Wednesday, July 14, 2010 | 2 a.m.

    An investment group seeking to build an arena on the Las Vegas Strip claims it is on the cusp of purchasing an NBA team to play in the facility.

    For the deal to go through, said Chris Milam, CEO of International Development Management LLC, the group must strike a deal with the county to fund construction of the arena — dubbed the Silver State Arena — slated for the old Wet ’n Wild water park site.

    “We have an NBA team under contract,” Milam said, declining to name the franchise. But the deal will take effect only if “other pieces of the puzzle fall into place: One of those pieces will be that a building (arena) is approved,” he said.

    The key to Milam’s plan is persuading Clark County to revive its redevelopment area and fund the arena using what is known as tax-increment financing.

    Milam is scheduled to make his case to county commissioners at an Aug. 4 meeting.

    Commissioners last month discussed arena proposals — three plans have been floated this year — but did not vote on whether they would support construction of any project. Based on their remarks, there appeared to be little support for any arena plan requiring public assistance.

    Of the three proposals, two call for formation of a new tax district along the Strip to repay public bonds that would fund construction.

    Milam’s plan calls for resurrection of the county redevelopment district. Developers would then be allowed to keep increases in property tax revenue over current levels. Taxes derived from the district to support the arena would be capped at $125 million.

    The county dismantled the district — it encompassed a small swath of land that includes the Wet ’n Wild site and some older properties to the east, along Sahara Avenue — a year ago and redistributed its funds to the state and other entities that would have received the money had the district not existed.

    Milam will bring his plan to commissioners in their capacity as overseers of the district.

    Commissioners have been noncommittal on Milam’s plan, but at least one said their outlook might improve if Milam does, in fact, have an NBA team “under contract” and needs only arena approval for the deal to go through.

    Commissioner Steve Sisolak, who has been less than enthusiastic about arena plans requiring public funding, said having a team ready to play in the arena “would be a game changer.”

    “It would mean a lot, carry a lot of weight. They’d get a lot more attention,” he said, adding that he’d “like to see those contracts.”

    Las Vegas has long wanted to lure an NBA franchise and league officials, though hesitant because of legal sports betting here, have shown some interest. The 2007 All-Star weekend was held in Las Vegas and the league holds its summer league here.

    NBA Commissioner David Stern has said relocating a team to Las Vegas is not a possibility until the city builds an NBA-quality arena.

    “I think Vegas would be a great town for an NBA franchise,” Byron Scott, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ first-year coach, said Tuesday during summer league games at Cox Pavilion. “But I know there are people in NBA circles who are afraid of the gambling and other distractions you have here.”

    Milam wouldn’t disclose the franchise he is working with, but Detroit Pistons owner Karen Davidson has said the franchise is for sale.

    Milam is attempting to tailor his pitch to the current political environment, noting the jobs it could create and other community benefits it would provide.

    The project would create 4,000 high-paying construction jobs, he says. Once it is completed, he estimates 7,000 direct and indirect jobs would be created.

    UNLV’s basketball team could use the new arena at no cost and keep the revenue from ticket and merchandise sales, he said. Beyond the $8 million or so UNLV would reap from such an arrangement, he believes a new arena might help recruitment.

    “If you’re a talented kid from anywhere in the country and you have a chance to play in a $400 million pro arena on the Strip, what are you going to do?” Milam said.

    In a year, he estimates, the site would host more than 220 events, including NBA and UNLV games, as well as National Hockey League games — he also hopes to secure an NHL team for Las Vegas.

    “This might not be the politically expedient thing to do, but it’s the right thing to do for the economy,” Milam said.

    But the politics of the project remains one of its biggest hurdles.

    Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, who spearheaded the effort last year to mothball the county’s redevelopment agency, said it matters little to her if Milam has a signed NBA agreement.

    “It’s not the right location and it’s a traffic issue,” she said.

    In June, commissioners read a staff report critical of creation of special tax districts to issue public bonds to build an arena.

    In his report, county Comptroller Ed Finger hinted that the Silver State Arena was different because the redevelopment district was already in place. Further, Milam would begin collecting redevelopment district revenue only after the arena was built.

    Commissioners discussed allowing voters to decide whether to support an arena tax district. After a short discussion, they moved on to other business, leading some to believe any prospects for an arena are dead.

    Milam, though, said he will continue to work toward deals with the NBA, NHL and UNLV.

    “If we lock up those deals, at some point people are going to scratch their heads and say, ‘What’s going on?’ ”
  2. boomboom

    boomboom I GOT '99 PROBLEMS

    Sep 29, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Another related article...with suggested teams...


    by Mike Prada • Jul 14, 2010 3:47 PM EDT

    As many of you might know, the NBA Summer League is currently going on in Las Vegas. This means it's a very convenient time to bring up the semi-regular discussion that always happens around now: the idea of an NBA team actually moving there.

    It comes up a lot because David Stern has always been open to the idea, though that means something very different than saying he'd actually want it to happen. Plus, while I was in Vegas just now to cover Summer League, I asked practically every cab driver why no sports league considers moving a team out there, and they all responded with something to the effect of "Dude, did you see what happened at the 2007 NBA All-Star Game? No way." Vox Pop at its finest, folks.

    So it's not a surprise that there are reports of an NBA team considering a move to Vegas right now. Except this time, those reports might actually be serious.


    The Las Vegas Sun is reporting that an investment group called International Development Management LLC is on the cusp of purchasing an NBA team and moving it to Las Vegas. There's only one holdup, and it's a big one: they want to build an arena on the strip.

    For the deal to go through, said Chris Milam, CEO of International Development Management LLC, the group must strike a deal with the county to fund construction of the arena - dubbed the Silver State Arena - slated for the old Wet 'n Wild water park site.

    "We have an NBA team under contract," Milam said, declining to name the franchise. But the deal will take effect only if "other pieces of the puzzle fall into place: One of those pieces will be that a building (arena) is approved," he said.

    (Hold up: an arena on the Strip called the "Silver State Arena?" Awesome! Well, except for the traffic).

    Milam is trying to sell Las Vegas officials on financing the arenas through something known as tax-increment financing, which is described in detail in the article. Milam is also trying to convince city officials that having an NBA team would create more jobs and generally be a revenue stream for the city, which is something the brand-new Aria Resort, which has a brutal 63-percent occupancy rate in its first quarter, would probably disagree with. It all sounds like a far-fetched plan.

    But the fact that Milam has an NBA team "under contract" is a huge game-changer. And since we're sports fans, not Las Vegas city politics fans (for the most part), we want to speculate on which team that actually is. Some possibilities:

    Detroit Pistons: The Pistons are mentioned specifically in the article because Karen Davidson, the widow of the long-time owner Bill Davidson, has said the team is for sale. Detroit's economy, of course, is getting killed, and that, combined with the team's increased struggles, has caused the Palace of Auburn Hills to be sparsely populated, even though it's outside of the city. Odds: 3-1

    New Orleans Hornets: The Hornets' money problems are no secret, and they just fired the very competent Jeff Bower as their GM. Oh, and they might trade away their best asset in Chris Paul. Also, they're probably for sale, though you never know with George Shinn. Odds: 3-1

    Sacramento Kings: The Kings appear to have stabilized themselves a bit more financially thanks to the addition of Tyreke Evans, but considering the Maloof brothers' connection to Las Vegas and the Palms, as well as their own struggles trying to build a new arena in Sacramento, they are always a candidate. Odds: 6-1.

    Memphis Grizzlies: The Grizzlies' lease in Memphis runs through the 2020/21 season, but consider that this is the same team that a) is squabbling with first-round pick Xavier Henry over paying him 120-percent of the mandatory rookie scale contract, and b) freaked out and signed Rudy Gay to a max contract right away because they were worried about having to match a contract for the same amount of money long-term, except frontloaded where Gay would make more in Year 1. They're a bit frugal with money, to put it nicely. Anyway, it's going to take time for Las Vegas to build this arena, so by then, we'll be closer to the end of their lease in Memphis. Odds: 12-1.

    Indiana Pacers: Yes, they're playing in the basketball mecca of Indiana. But have you seen those crowds? Also, long-time owner Herb Simon passed away this year, so there's at least a little bit of an ownership gap. Odds: 15-1.

    Minnesota Timberwolves: They're off the radar, but their arena is pretty old and their team is probably going to be terrible for a long time. Remember: this Las Vegas team is probably going to be a long-term idea, and in three years, if Ricky Rubio doesn't come over, what kind of assets do the Timberwolves have? Odds: 30-1.

    Miami Heat: Because LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will get hurt, and the fans will stop supporting them. Odds: 1,000,000-1.

    The crazy part about this whole scenario is that it means Las Vegas could get a new team before Seattle. If Seattle fans hadn't given up on the NBA already, this would certainly drive them away.
  3. Rockets1988-

    Rockets1988- Member

    Jan 20, 2010
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    Nice read. I think LV needs a team, i just hope they do an expansion team and not move a team from another city. Only team i could think that i totally dislike would be Minnesota, i dont think any other team should have its franchise moved.
  4. SirCharlesFan

    SirCharlesFan Contributing Member

    Apr 8, 1999
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    Why would anyone move a team to Vegas right now? Isn't the economy in Vegas one of the worst in nation? Detroit with fancy lights? I love Vegas, but bad timing.
  5. Ricksmith

    Ricksmith Contributing Member

    May 6, 2009
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    how strange. 2 nights ago i had a dream that the pacers were leaving indiana. the three possible spots to move to were austin, san diego, and vegas. obviously, they were moving into another small market, but whichever team got the arena first would get them. austin ended up getting the pacers. they renamed the team the lone star ? i cant remember the team name but it was named lone star kinda like golden state.
  6. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

    Sep 19, 1999
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    right? the irony of that article lamenting the economic conditions in detroit. ummm...hello???
  7. tinman

    tinman Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    May 9, 1999
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    This would be awesome.

    Las Vegas Kings makes sense. The Maloofs own the Palms.
  8. da_juice

    da_juice Member

    Dec 16, 2009
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    Vegas is one the fastest growing in the US. However, I don't think they're allowed to have a team because they gave legalized gambling. It wouldn't surprise me if a team says it plays in Vegas but actually plays near it(i.e pistons say they play in Detroit but actually play in Auburn Hills)
  9. Kwame

    Kwame Contributing Member

    Sep 18, 2007
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    Bring an NBA team to Las Vegas please.

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