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Shaq is ready to battle LeBron James for Las Vegas’ future NBA franchise

LeBron James looks set to have to battle The Big Diesel Shaq for the first NBA franchise in Las Vegas.

2007 ESPY Awards - Red Carpet

One of the safest bets for the future of the NBA is that a franchise will be in Las Vegas in the future. When that happens exactly remains up in the air with Adam Silver noting it will be after the media rights deals are renegotiated in 2025.

Who will own that franchise, though, is an even bigger question. LeBron James has been pretty adamant that he wants to own a team and, specifically, the Las Vegas one. However, predictably, he’s going to have some competition, including one very notable person.

The Big Diesel himself.

Shaquille O’Neal himself threw his name in the hypothetical hat recently while speaking to Mark Medina of The Messenger to own a Las Vegas NBA team. And no, he isn’t interested in working with LeBron — or anyone — in trying to land it.

“I would like to have my own group. I know Vegas hasn’t been awarded an NBA team yet but if they ever get to a point where they are awarded a team, I would like to be a part of that. I don’t want to partner up with nobody. I want it all for myself.”

Having it all for himself is relative because he’s going to have to partner with some people to get enough money. Shaq’s net worth is in the neighborhood of $400 million, a surprisingly low amount considering he’s on at least two commercials of every ad break on any channel at any given time. The Suns sold for $4 billion. There’s obviously a big gap there that Shaq will need help bridging.

But the “all for myself” line likely means he wants to be the front-facing member of the group. And that would mean not collaborating with LeBron James in any way. Which means we are set for a battle between LeBron and Shaq for this NBA franchise.

This battle would have one big caveat in that LeBron could technically still be playing whenever this Vegas franchise comes about. It feels like a longshot with the franchise still two or three years away, but we ventured into unchartered waters years ago when it comes to LeBron’s career.

If both are retired and vying for this, though, it could be particularly interesting. Both are athletes who are very well known to the general public. Both would be vying hard for this spot. Depending on how things play out, I still wouldn’t rule out them teaming up, though LeBron may be better positioned financially in his bid already.

But LeBron’s battle against the league's GOATs isn’t going to stop when he retires, it seems.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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