Contrary to what you’ve heard, LeBron, D-Wade, Bosh and Amar’e won’t be fielding the biggest big-money offers in the NBA this offseason.
The Golden State Warriors are up for sale, and unlike other cases where a seamless ownership switch is set up behind closed doors and only unveiled on a need-to-know basis, G-State owner Chris Cohan basically put his team up on the billionaire’s version of CraigsList.
Since opening the door for preliminary bids on Monday, the Warriors have received at least 10 offers, according to the Oakland Tribune:
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is one of the bids, sources said, basically resubmitting his earlier offer of $315 million. Among the people who also put their hats in the ring are 24-Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov, a group from China and the current minority owners, sources said.
A bidding package was prepared and shipped out, and the Warriors started fielding offers Monday. With the first round of bids in hand, the next step is for current Warriors’ owner Chris Cohan to narrow the field.
That is when the negotiations intensify, one source said. Hope remains that a new owner is identified by July 1.
According to sources, the initial bids fell well shy of first-reported estimations. When the team announced in March it had hired Galatioto Sports Partners to facilitate a sale, several estimated that the Warriors’ price could surpass $400 million. Robert Sarver‘s purchase of the Phoenix Suns at $401 million is the record, but rough economic times and bargain-hunting bidders have collaborated to keep the offers down.
If I can pretend to be rich for a minute, after buying a couple racehorses, I’d put in my bid for the Warriors. If I wanted to run an NBA team, they’d be on the short list of top options. Consider all that comes with owning the Warriors: You’re in California, you have a loyal and rabid fan base that has proven they’ll stick with you through thick and thin, you’re never expected to live up to the in-state rival Lakers, and at rich-people parties, being able to say “I own the Warriors” just sounds cooler than, “I own the 76ers.” If I gained control of this franchise, I don’t even think I’d move them to Seattle. (OK, I probably would.)
And that’s not even looking at the short-term. The current version of the Warriors is waiting for somebody to come in and change the culture. You have two potential franchise guys in Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis, a decent 7-footer in Andris Biedrins, a high-volume bench scorer (keyword: bench) in Corey Maggette, at least one intriguing project in Anthony Randolph, the No. 6 pick in this year’s NBA Draft, and plenty of cap space next summer. You could do a lot with that foundation if you hire the right basketball people.
If you owned the Warriors, what would you do?