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Will The Milwaukee Bucks Find A New Home In Las Vegas?

Courtesy Milwaukee Bucks

A report by the Milwaukee Business Journal says the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks could be headed to Las Vegas. Seattle is also an option, if now deal is reached on $250 million in public financing to build a new downtown arena.

Milwaukee Bucks president Peter Feigin told lawmakers Monday that the NBA could buy the franchise and relocate it, if Wisconsin’s state legislature doesn’t approve millions of dollars in public funding for a new downtown arena.

Feigin warned that the NBA could purchase the team and move it to “Las Vegas or Seattle,” according to the Milwaukee Business Journal.

Editor-in-chief of the Milwaukee Business Journal Mark Kass told KNPR's State of Nevada that the state is responsible for $80 million of the $250 million in public funds needed for the stadium.

"It is up in the air," Kass said of the votes for the funding. He said a state senator he spoke with doesn't believe the votes are there to move the project ahead.

Kass said the deadline for breaking ground on the new arena is October or November in order to meet a deadline set out in the purchasing agreement. 

New York hedge fund executive Wes Edens and two partners purchased the Bucks for $550 million in May 2014. In that purchasing agreement, there is a clause that says the NBA can buy back the team, if a new stadium is not started this year. 

According to Kass, there is a sense it may not happen.

"I would think about a month ago everybody assumed it would get done," Kass said. "These things always go back and forth and people argue, but in the end, it always gets done."

However, Kass said in this case there are politicians who are afraid to vote for public funding for fear of losing their seat.

The Bucks’ lease at BMO Harris Bradley Center expires in 2017. Feigin told state lawmakers the NBA does not want the Bucks to extend their lease “in an inadequate facility,” the Milwaukee Business Journal reported.

"I think that the NBA is going to look at everything. I think the NBA wants to be where they can earn money," Kass said.

The prospect of finally bringing a major sports league team to Las Vegas has gained traction of late after the National Hockey League put the city on its list for a possible expansion team and NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a New York Times Op-Ed "a different approach" to sports gambling was needed.

A home for a sports team is already under construction.

The MGM Resorts International-AEG Arena is a $350 million, 20,000-seat area scheduled to open next year on the Strip behind New York-New York and Monte Carlo casinos.

Mark Kass, editor-in-chief, Milwaukee Business Journal

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