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Clippers, with Magic Johnson among the bidders, could sell for more than $1 billion

Apr 29, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

Donald Sterling will soon be forced to sell the Los Angeles Clippers if NBA commissioner Adam Silver gets his way.

The result will likely be a $1 billion windfall for Sterling, who bought the team $12 million in 1981.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Magic Johnson was previously reported to be interested, though he denied it.

Johnson’s denial left him an obvious semantic out – “they already have an owner.” Depending on interpretation of Silver’s punishment, the Clippers no longer have an owner. Surely, Johnson will interpret the situation however he pleases if he wants to bid on the team. Nothing is stopping him.

Especially not the commissioner.

“Magic Johnson knows he’s always welcome as an owner in this league,” Silver said.

It’s unclear how the unconventional sale would unfold, but Johnson fronted a group that bought the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2 billion two years in a sealed-bid process. He’s successfully navigated these murky waters before.

There will certainly be other interested parties, too. The Clippers play in a huge market, even if the Lakers dominate it, and they have two of the NBA’s better and more-marketable players in Blake Griffin and Chris Paul.

Earlier this year, Forbes listed the Clippers’ value at $575 million. So why the $1 billion estimates?

There are several mitigating factors, including some that will lower the final price, that should ultimately lift the franchise’s value near 10 digits. Among them:

  • The Clippers would sell for the price offered by the highest bidder, not the consensus price.
  • Forbes’ valuation includes Sterling as the team’s owner. The Clippers could be much more valuable with better ownership.
  • If bidders know Sterling does not have the option to take the team off the market, they could offer less than they would if Sterling’s hand wasn’t forced. (This would lower the final price.)
  • Buying the team now would bring a high amount of good publicity to the new owners.
  1. mycm1127 - Apr 29, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    I’m glad Sterling is gone for life, but I just have weird feeling about Magic buying the Clippers considering he knew the girl who recorded the racists remarks and the comments were because of a picture of Magic. It just seems like some sort of conspiracy. But like I stated I’m glad he is gone.

    • 24thesho - Apr 30, 2014 at 7:09 AM

      I don’t.

  2. rickditka - Apr 29, 2014 at 3:28 PM

    The Adam Silver Era is a failure

    • calkinsrob - Apr 29, 2014 at 3:39 PM

      I think this is a great start for Silver, he treated this perfectly considering the way the constitution and rules are set for the nba. theyll get the 3/4th vote and hell be out pretty soon.

      • calkinsrob - Apr 29, 2014 at 3:40 PM

        Sterling will be out*

    • ranfan12 - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:28 PM

      Don’t be a hater lol.

    • daviddmsvcp - Apr 29, 2014 at 8:19 PM

      On one hand, it makes sense. More than the fact that public opinion was against Donald Sterling, sponsors were starting to pull out. That, they do not want to hear about.

      If the owners back Silver and if a judge does not agree to hear the case, then Sterling will be gone. If a judge agrees to hear it, and Sterling wins in court, then at least Silver can say, ‘we tried’.

      All about money.

      Personally, I think Sterling was not treated fairly. But we are talking about money.

  3. cantonb0und13 - Apr 29, 2014 at 3:28 PM

    Watch Magic become the owner and Phil Jackson decides to leave the Knicks. Magic will find a way to get Phil. #TheKnicksCantDoAnythingRight

    • cantonb0und13 - Apr 29, 2014 at 3:30 PM

      Magic Johnson and his partnership >>> James Dolan… Sigh… Sucks being a Knicks fan

  4. antistratfordian - Apr 29, 2014 at 3:30 PM

    That would be ironic.

  5. robonious - Apr 29, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    sell to the maloofs

  6. crillbill - Apr 29, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    Would Kobe Bryant be allowed to own an NBA team? That would be a colorful background check and vetting.

  7. asimonetti88 - Apr 29, 2014 at 3:33 PM

    A bidding war between Guggenheim and Chris Hanson/Steve Ballmer would be pretty epic. Easily over a billion.

    • jackvcr - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:36 PM

      Ballmer has more money than all of them. If it comes to this, I hope Ballmer/Hanson win & bring ‘em to Seattle.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 29, 2014 at 5:28 PM

        Well, Guggenheim is worth over $200 billion. It would be interesting to say the least.

      • iknowzeroaboutsports - Apr 29, 2014 at 11:13 PM

        No, Guggenheim isn’t worth over $200 billion. No one is.

  8. rdrfan - Apr 29, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    Magic uses his loyal followers to get what he wants and that’s more money . He’s just a face for the super wealthy. To me he just another low life using people. I work at one of his theaters and he doesn’t pay crap and yet people believe he helps people in the getto. Yea Right.. He uses us. I smell something fishy with this one.

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:00 PM

      Working in a theater doesn’t typically pay well to begin with. Does your theater pay under market value?

    • paleihe - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:03 PM

      Well, then don’t work at the movie theater. Go find a better job.

    • jvw1982 - Apr 29, 2014 at 5:44 PM

      Yep, just think if he decided not to build a theater in your neighborhood you would be unemployed and complaining how no one creates jobs in your area…..be thankful you are working and use your free time to find a better job instead of biting the hand that feeds you……

  9. biglaj007 - Apr 29, 2014 at 3:47 PM

    Won’t this look fishy?

    • 24thesho - Apr 30, 2014 at 8:06 AM

      No more so than sleeping with your “black” girlfriend and forbidding her to hang out with “black” people in his arena.

  10. bucrightoff - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:00 PM

    Please have Magic end up the owner. Not because I want him to because I really don’t care, but him becoming owner would take NBA conspiracy theories to a whole new level.

    • jvw1982 - Apr 29, 2014 at 5:46 PM

      That and the fact it would be Magic coming to the games to watch his team how ironic would that be…..

  11. fishfiletkray - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:03 PM

    I hope they leave LA. They shouldn’t have two nab teams.

  12. mblue24 - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:04 PM

    This was all a setup from the beginning and Magic was part of it but yet people are not saying that. Now who is racists? magic is bc he set a white man up. true BS. Screw the NBA and Silver. They all suck and I hope the NbA fails. This was fishy from the beginning. magic wanted the clippers so now he has a chance to get them. bS

    • iknowzeroaboutsports - Apr 29, 2014 at 11:15 PM

      Someone went shopping for a tin hat.

  13. djlexluger - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:11 PM

    Tell me more about the evidence you have that Magic acted to conspire against Donald Sterling.

  14. djlexluger - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:13 PM

    Don’t worry I’ll wait…

  15. seahonky - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    Seattle

  16. Dogsweat - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    Seattle Sonics 2015, right the wrong, plus they get Blake and Paul.

  17. rdrfan - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:38 PM

    mblue , hit the nail on the head. Sterling was set up. But he gets the last laugh because clips will go for over a billion dollars. Plus he’s 81 years old. Do you think he really gives a crap. There will be on hell of a bidding war. Sterling wins all the way around. Not bad for a so called racist.

    • jimbo75025 - Apr 29, 2014 at 5:25 PM

      The question of if this was a setup will be easy to tell in a few years. Obviously V Stiviano is now going to lose all her toys from Sterling.

      If she follows the expected arc and poses for Playboy then does the F list celebrity tour before being found dead of a overdose in a year or two-this was not a setup.

      If she continues to be seen tooling around in expensive vehicles, etc then yes this was a setup.

  18. philipmiller111 - Apr 29, 2014 at 5:08 PM

    Be careful what you say in a private conversation. The first amendment does not exist anymore. The next noise you hear is troops in lock step coming to get you. You pay me the money these players make and you can call me anything.

    • jvw1982 - Apr 29, 2014 at 5:50 PM

      Whore

      • daviddmsvcp - Apr 29, 2014 at 8:24 PM

        Slut

  19. sailbum7 - Apr 29, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    I do not know why so many people think a sale of the Clippers is imminent. If Sterling holds true to form there is going to be a very public, nasty, and drawn out legal battle over the legality of the NBA’s actions. I do not see Sterling simply folding his tent and selling the team without putting up a huge fight first. It simply would be completely out of character for him to do so.

    As for the conspiracy theories floating around, something does seem very fishy with this. The fact that Sterling’s rant was against Magic Johnson who wants to buy the team and is friends with the woman involved smells bad. Add to that the fact that she just happened to make an illegal recording of his rant to release to the media, and this definitely smells like a set up. I would not be surprised if there was a criminal investigation into how this tape happened to be recorded and released to the media. This is made even more likely based on Sterling’s litigious nature and the fact that recording someone without their consent is a criminal offense in CA. The way this whole thing smells, I do not see how the LA District Attorney could get away without launching an investigation. To do anything else would cause serious claims of a cover up to protect favorite son Magic Johnson.

  20. wranglerick - Apr 29, 2014 at 8:26 PM

    The lawyers are lining up as we speak

  21. 1historian - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:09 PM

    This is going to court and it’s going to be there for a long time, because Sterling is not just going to roll over for these clowns, and the longer this drags out the higher the price gets because Sterling doesn’t want to sell and the league will get more and more desperate to get him to go away.

    And fans just keep coming to the games – all the games.

    No one is making anyone buy tickets. The only language these people speak and understand is MONEY. Sterling, magic, MJ, the current players, the other owners.

    Actually I think Sterling is going to get the league by the shorthairs and twist and twist, because he has plenty of money already.

  22. ksingleton101 - Apr 30, 2014 at 8:52 AM

    Why does he have to sell?

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