Now that the NBA has banned Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life, and will try to force him out of the league, there’s heavy speculation on who will buy the team.
Brian Windhorst, one of the best NBA reporters in the world, said yesterday on Tony Kornheiser’s radio show, “Larry Ellison is the guy who is dying to buy a team.”
Over at ESPN, there’s a report that Ellison could team up with media moguls David Geffen and Oprah Winfrey to buy the Clippers. (Ellison is the fifth richest man in the world with a net worth of ~$50 billion, so it’s unclear what he needs Geffen and Winfrey for.)
Ellison has long wanted a basketball team.
He tried to buy the Golden State Warriors in 2010.
At the time, he put out a release that said, “Although I was the highest bidder, Chris Cohan decided to sell to someone else. In my experience this is a bit unusual. Nonetheless, I wish the Warriors and their fans nothing but success under their new ownership.”
That’s one way of putting. Another way of putting it is that Ellison submitted his bid after the bidding was closed, and only bid a few million above the eventually winner, which is what Sal Galatioto, who brokered the sale told Sports Illustrated at the time.
The winning bid was $US450 million.
“We are in business to turn down the high bidder?” Galatioto told SI. “How long would I be in business if I turned down the high bidder? I don’t think he believed we got a figure at 450 until it was too late.”
Ellison tried again in 2012 to buy the Memphis Grizzlies, but didn’t win that bid.
Now that the Clippers are potentially going to be on the market, Ellison is expected to make a run.
However, the Clippers are going to be very, very expensive. The Milwaukee Bucks just went for $US550 million, and they’re the Milwaukee Bucks. Windhorst estimates the Clippers could go for $US1.5-$2 billion. There are a lot of people interested in buying the team, and Los Angeles is a prime market.
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