Nearly a decade after he and fellow New York investment billionaires bought the Milwaukee Bucks from former Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl, Marc Lasry has reportedly agree to sell his stake in the franchise to Jimmy and Dee Haslam, owners of the National Football League’s Cleveland Browns.
The deal, which was first reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, could be worth as much as $875 million, based on a $3.5 billion valuation of the franchise, significantly higher than Forbes estimated the Bucks’ worth in October.
While it’s all interesting fodder for those with the ability to spend that kind of money, the more pressing concern for Bucks fans right now is much more simplistic.
In a nutshell, their biggest question is likely along the lines of “What does this mean for the team … and for us?”
The simple answer is: very little … at least in terms of the on-court product.
At the end of the day, the Bucks are swapping out one billionaire from their expansive ownership group for two more, while all involved will likely add a few more bucks to their savings accounts for home repairs, rainy days and holiday shopping.
As far as basketball is concerned: Jon Horst is still running the front office Mike Budenolzer is running the sideline and Giannis Antetokounmpo is still running opponents off the court.
The only significant change wouldn’t come for at least five years down the road depending on whether or not the franchise maintains the power structure it adopted when Edens and Larsy made their purchase nearly a decade ago.
Under that agreement, which also included a commitment to keeping the team in Milwaukee, Edens and Lasry would serve alternating five-year terms as the franchise’s governor. That person is essentially has final say on any decision-making process and also serves as the team’s formal representative for all league matters.
Edens held the governorship first with Lasry taking over during the 2019-20 season. His term, which included the Bucks’ NBA Championship in 2021, is slated to come to an end following this season.
Assuming that the Haslams have completed and passed the league’s vetting process for new owners by then, they’ll be coming aboard just as the team has to make some serious financial decisions.
While Giannis Antetokounmpo is locked up for the foreseeable future, thanks to ive-year, $228 million supermax extension he signed in December 2020 and Jrue Holiday has at least one more guaranteed season under his most recent contract extension, center Brook Lopez becomes a free agent this summer and Khris Middleton could join him if he declines a player option for next season that would pay him $40 million.
Both players have been cornerstones of the team’s recent success but with Milwaukee expected to face a luxury tax bill north of $70 million this season — second only to Golden State — decisions will have to be made.
For now though, it’s all speculation. While ownership, the league and everybody’s respective lawyers sort out the business side of things, the players will focus on extending their winning streak to 15 games Tuesday night in Brooklyn, while working toward winning their second championship in three years.
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