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Vegas group: We have contract for NBA team if our arena plan is approved

The group seeking to build a major arena on the Strip in Las Vegas now say they have an NBA team under contract — all that’s needed is for Clark County to revive a tax-increment financing mechanism to help fund the facility.

Officials from International Development Management LLC say they have an NBA franchise “under contract” should a new arena be built. Christopher Milam is heading the group, who wants to build a new 20,000-seat arena dubbed the Silver State Arena at the former Wet ‘N Wild waterpark site on the Las Vegas Strip, between the Sahara Hotel and the Fontainebleau Hotel development, to be opened in 2012. As part of the mix, Milam wants to land both NBA and NHL teams for the project.

He didn’t tell the Las Vegas Sun which team was under contract; the Sun speculates it could be the Detroit Pistons, but we doubt it (mostly because the Pistons own their own arena, and profitably so): the two more likelier candidates are the Sacramento Kings, whose chances of landing a new arena have all but withered away, and the Minnesota Timberwolves, where owner Glen Taylor may be tired of subsidizing losing teams playing in a crappy arena. The T-Wolves have taken great pains to slash payroll this offseason. The NBA is not likely to block any team moving to Vegas, despite concerns about gambling.

The next step: for Clark County Commissioners to actually discuss reviving the tax-increment financing, which would be used to pay up to 15 percent of the costs of a new arena.

RELATED STORIES: Master plan for Las Vegas arena includes NBA, NHL teams; Las Vegas foundation drops arena effort; Vegas arena proposals draw opposition from county commissioners, casinos

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