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New Warriors owners not sure how they outbid Larry Ellison either

Nov 17, 2010, 8:33 PM EDT

Joe Lacob, Peter Guber

There was a given going into the sale of the Warriors — if he wanted the team, Silicon Valley mogul Larry Ellison could win the auction. Easy. You know how rich Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is? Trail Blazer owner Paul Allen (he of the ground floor of Microsoft)? Ellison is worth more than both of them combined.

And it was assumed Larry Ellison wanted the Warriors, he had expressed interest before.

But at the end of the bidding, Joseph Lacob and Peter Guber came out with the team after a $450 million bid. NBA.com’s Scott Howard Cooper asked them how that happened, and, well, they don’t know either.

“We heard all that too, and we even thought that,” Lacob admitted, laughing. “I remember Peter and I talking about this during the process. We said, ‘We can’t really worry about him. We just have to do what we think is right. We have to do our homework, we have to bid at the appropriate time, we have to bid the right amount, we have to do our due diligence properly, and we just stay in the game because you never know what’s going to happen….”

“The truth is, in the end, who’s to say why. Larry could have had the team probably at any time by just writing a bigger check. And he certainly could afford to do that. I really don’t know why he didn’t do that. Maybe it’s one of these things where you just don’t think the other guys are real in a bidding process. We were a little bit under the radar. We just stayed in there and did our thing. I guess the one thing I would say is that when it came down to it and we knew we had it, or were very close to having it, we did do one thing that was rather unusual. We signed a letter of intent. Then it usually takes a couple months to do what’s called a complete purchase-and-sale agreement. We went and did that in a period of about 72 hours. Completely. Nonstop. Without sleeping. With our lawyers. We knew that they, or he, or whoever – we didn’t know who the competitor was – would try to come in over the top at the end. It’s an auction process. We just said, ‘We’re going to be done before they ever get there.’

Ellison did try to come in with a bigger offer after the bidding process ended, but that didn’t work. Selling owner Chris Cohan stuck with his process. And there you go.

We don’t know how good Lacob and Guber will turn out to be as owners. Better than Cohan, one could hope (one playoff appearance in 16 years). Owners who stuck with a plan and beat the big gun out sound like just the perfect guys to take over in the Bay Area.

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