Is LeBron James really going to buy the Atlanta Dream from Kelly Loeffler?

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images /

Nobody seems to want Kelly Loeffler involved in the WNBA any more. Is LeBron James’ offer to buy the Atlanta Dream from her for real?

Last night, Kelly Loeffler lost her run-off election to Raphael Warnock, ending her brief term as one of Georgia’s two senators. Among those celebrating her loss will be the roster of the Atlanta Dream, the WNBA franchise owned by Loeffler.

Dream players campaigned, loudly and aggressively, for Warnock after Loeffler publicly condemned the Black Lives Matter movement and the WNBA’s push for social justice advocacy during their season this summer. It’s not unheard of for players to publicly spar with their team’s owner but this seems like a particularly fraught situation. Luckily, a hero may be on the horizon.

Could LeBron James actually by the Atlanta Dream from Kelly Loeffler?

Setting aside the issue of whether she would actually want to sell (Loeffler certainly hasn’t seemed eager to back down and divest from the league so far), there are a few other issues at play. The NBA CBA expressly forbids active players from owning all or part of an NBA team or an associated company — a provision that seemed relevant when the idea was floating around of Dan Gilbert offering LeBron a piece of the Cavs to stay in Cleveland.

The CBA does not mention a WNBA team but it would be kind of a gray area since the WNBA is an offshoot of the NBA, several teams have direct NBA connections and play in the same arena. Several others, including the Dream, play in NBA markets and do at least some loose collaboration in building fanbase and community.

LeBron mentioned an ownership group in his tweet but he could probably afford to buy the team outright. The question would be whether he would need partners to satisfy whatever legal conditions the league pencils in to resolve a first-time situation like this.

Again, it’s all moot if Loeffler wants to stubbornly hang on. But, even if it’s not that realistic, LeBron buying the team seems like a best-case scenario for everyone.

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