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Report: Grant Hill’s group regarded by league as ‘viable contender’ for Clippers ownership

May 25, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

Grant Hill Grant Hill

The Clippers will be up for sale soon enough, whether the NBA controls the process or whether the Sterlings are allowed to do so in what appears to be an increasingly less likely scenario.

There will be a long line of suitors for the team, all of whom will be putting together potential ownership groups willing to pay over $1 billion (with a ‘b’) for L.A.’s historically junior franchise.

But image will play in important role in the group the league chooses, as they’ll want to move in a positive direction following the Sterling disaster. And for that reason, a group headed by a well-respected former player may have an edge in the bidding process.

From Marc Stein of

Former NBA All-Star Grant Hill has partnered with billionaire investors and longtime Southern California residents Tony Ressler and Bruce Karsh to form an ownership group to bid on the Los Angeles Clippers when they are officially put up for sale, according to sources close to the process.

Sources told that Hill’s group is already regarded by league officials as a viable contender for the Clippers in what is forecast to be a highly competitive auction when the franchise finally hits the open market. One industry source told this week that the bidding could start as high as the $1.5 billion range. …

Hill is just completing his first season in retirement after a 19-year career that featured seven All-Star appearances. Ressler is the co-founder of Ares Management and a minority owner of the Milwaukee Brewers. Karsh is president and co-founder of Oaktree Capital Management and currently serves a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors.

Magic Johnson is another person who would similarly meet the positive image criteria, but with easily more than 10 groups likely to be interested, that in itself won’t be enough to win the right to purchase the Clippers.

Since the Sterlings are being forced to sell, the league will almost certainly need to ensure that the group it chooses is also the highest bidder. Otherwise, it opens itself up to even more potential litigation from Sterling than is already being predicted, as the NBA continues the process of terminating the current ownership interests in the team as quickly as possible.

  1. mackcarrington - May 25, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    I wasn’t aware that Hill’s partners were Southern Cal residents. That actually IS a viable contender.
    And there’s no chance they would leave LA.

  2. eugenesaxe1 - May 25, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    1-Anybody but Magic.
    2-Hill’s a smart guy, hopefully he’d have some sort of operational position and not just the token.

    • sire2334 - May 25, 2014 at 6:55 PM

      Im sorry, did Magic steal your girl too?

  3. muathjam21 - May 25, 2014 at 4:36 PM

    The irony in all of this is that by everyone wanting to the Sterlings to sell and because of the high profile case, the Sterling’s return on investment is going to be double or even triple. Starting the bidding at 1.5bil is an absolutely ludicrous number, and if it balloons into the 2bils, then the Sterlings would be up about a billion dollars.

    And guess who’s laughing in the end?

    • muathjam21 - May 25, 2014 at 4:39 PM

      For example, the Knicks hold the highest valuation in the league at 1.4 billion dollars. The Lakers are second at 1.3bil. The Clippers are 13th in the league and are valued at 575 million dollars. So if the bidding OPENS up at 1.5bil, that already 3 times are much as what the Clippers are currently valued at.

      • eugenesaxe1 - May 25, 2014 at 4:57 PM

        The only reason it’s valued so low is, it’s the Clippers. No history to speak of, minimal TV contract compared to the Lakers.
        NBA franchises don’t come along very often, and certainly not in one of the glamor markets.

      • muathjam21 - May 25, 2014 at 5:08 PM

        That’s very true – but it goes deeper than simply “it’s the Clippers”. Revenues, operating income, market, debt, brand are all taken into account. For instance, despite a terrible history the Warriors are valued at 750mil, which ranks them 9th in the entire league. Selling the Clippers at 1.5bil from increases Donald Sterling’s net worth from 1.9 billion to 2.7-3.0 billion.

    • mackcarrington - May 25, 2014 at 6:55 PM

      Sterling is already rich. Nobody cares if he gets richer.
      We just want him to go away.

    • sportsfan18 - May 25, 2014 at 9:15 PM


      you said “the Sterling’s return on investment is going to be double or even triple.”

      Donald Sterling bought the team for $12.5 million dollars…

      The team will be sold for around $1 Billion dollars…

      The Sterlings will have to pay captial gains taxes on the amount above what they paid for it up to what it sells for.

      They will have to pay somewhere around $300 something million in taxes if they receive $1 Billion for the team and more the higher it sells for.

      They will be getting a lot more than double or triple on their investment…

      Of course it’s been a long term investment as he bought the team in 1981.

      • muathjam21 - May 25, 2014 at 9:40 PM

        I’m talking about from what the team is calculated to be worth TODAY, no when Sterling bought it in the 80s. The 575mil for the Clippers is already calculated into Sterling’s 1.9bil net worth. So if the team sells for say – 1.5bil – that’s an extra 1 billion dollars that’s gonna be added to his net worth.

    • mazblast - May 25, 2014 at 11:12 PM

      The taxman would be having a field day. If the franchise sells for $1.5 billion, the IRS would have $300-$400 million for the federal government to whiz away and the rapacious People’s Republic of California roughly $185 million more to spend.

  4. darrkkomens - May 25, 2014 at 4:42 PM

    Muath & Eugene go beat each other off you losers

    • eugenesaxe1 - May 25, 2014 at 9:05 PM

      That’s nice son. Now run along, grownups are talking.

  5. sportsfan18 - May 25, 2014 at 4:49 PM

    NBA Board of Governor’s discussion to approve the new owners…

    Did they offer the MOST money and do they have a prominent black person as a part of their ownership group (even if only a few percent)?

    Yes and yes you say?

    29 quick yes votes and they all breath a sigh of relief… Then they sit around saying they were worried that LeBron was going to lead a walkout next year if Sterling wasn’t gone…

    • sportsfan18 - May 26, 2014 at 12:49 PM

      for those of you voting what I said down… here is info from this website on a more recent article…

      “It appears as though the league wants to control this process, and it believes it will have the right to do so once the ownership interests in the Clippers are terminated, as is likely to happen following the hearing on June 3. The NBA needs the Sterlings gone, and allowing Shelly to linger on by being involved in negotiating the sale of the team — which is a process that will likely last months — keeps the family name in the news, and threatens to spill over into next season.

      The league can’t risk that, as the players may reconsider a boycott if they believe the league isn’t doing everything in its power to remove the Sterlings, and do so as immediately as that procedure will allow. ”

      So, the owners don’t want a boycott, it is on their minds. the league wants this sale done with yesterday and they would like the team taking ownership to have at least one prominent black person the way the Dodger’s owners have Magic or like the Nets used to have with Jay Z.

      They’d take Grant Hill as a part of an ownership group in a heart beat… recent former great player who is smart and well respected in and out of the league…

  6. campcouch - May 25, 2014 at 8:17 PM

    Who says Magic meets a positive image criteria? Because he smiles? I’m sure he’s a ton of laughs, but he kinda shattered that mystical persona when he stood up at a mic and said he “acquired HIV”. I didn’t quite get it as a kid,until an adult explained it, and later he admitted to sleeping around. So not only did he infect others he also risked his wife’s health. He may be a good businessman exploiting his name in urban areas,but I don’t see him as a positive image.

    • Kevin S. - May 25, 2014 at 9:05 PM

      Hi Donald! I’m glad to see your NBA ban hasn’t lead to a ban from commenting on Clipper-related stories.

    • nadoinspincity - May 25, 2014 at 10:26 PM

      At the time there was lots of false information at all about HIV/AIDS. People thought it could be contracted simply from being in contact with a person who had it, and that only the population could contract it. At the end of the day Magic Johnson saved millions of lives by making people aware that anyone could get it and how people could actually contract it. People can make mistakes but that doesn’t mean they can’t be righted, after Magics extensive efforts to advocate for AIDS/HIV I feel like his mistakes should be forgiven. What Magic Johnson did was brave, he not only admitted to millions of people that he had done something wrong but he also went out of his way to try to prevent anyone from making the same errors as him. Magic Johnson is a hero in my opinion, so I will say he meets a positive image criteria.

      • sportsfan18 - May 26, 2014 at 12:54 PM

        what you said about Magic IS true…

        But, it is ALSO true that he slept around on his wife a LOT and risked her health and that of many others.

        many folks that do bad things also have good points about them.

        like I said, what you said about him IS true…

        but saying he was a louse who slept around a lot, risked his wife’s health NEEDS to be said too.

        THAT part of him and it IS a part of him, is NOT a positive image.

        you wouldn’t want your kid to tell you why they are doing many bad things and then have them tell you, “well dad, after I finish doing all these bad things, I’m going to tell folks about them, educate them, and admit his/her mistake to millions of people…”

        nope, I don’t see you as WANTING your child to meet a postive image criteria in this way, the way Magic did.

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