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Milwaukee Bucks highlights

April 24, 2014 Updates

Herb Kohl tapped the NBA’s revolving loan fund twice in 2009 and three times in 2010, according to personal financial filings from his final year in the U.S. Senate that shed light on his statement that he spent “well over $100 million” keeping the Bucks afloat. “I went into debt,” Kohl told me in an interview. “The league has a credit facility and we got to the limit of what we could borrow. It turned out fine. I have no complaints on the money side.” Business News

After the news April 17 that Kohl agreed to sell the Milwaukee Bucks for $550 million, I asked him about the return on his initial 1985 investment of $18 million to $19 million. Kohl pointed out that he had spent “well over $100 million” keeping the Bucks in business and went into debt with the NBA, but would not give a specific dollar figure. “I didn’t invest for the money and it doesn’t take into account the money I’ve put in over the years to keep the team afloat during the times when the (NBA’s) economic model was broken,” Kohl told me. “It was well over $100 million, so you can just start subtracting from what I received here.” Business News

Kohl’s last day in the Senate was Jan. 2 after 24 years. His sale of the Bucks, of which he is the sole owner, still requires NBA approval. The buyers are New York City investment executives Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens. “Some people will look at it and say, ‘Herb Kohl is making $550 million on this,’” Kohl told me. “I’m saying, ‘Hey, that’s not true.’ It’s a business that has risks. When I bought the team, the NBA was a very small, shaky enterprise. There were many problems in the NBA when I bought this in the middle-’80s. Some of my investments have turned out better, some worse.” Business News

April 21, 2014 Updates

The NBA has the right to buy back the Milwaukee Bucks from incoming owners Wesley Edens and Mark Lasry if a deal to a bring a new arena to the city is not in place by November 2017, according to sources briefed on the situation. Sources told ESPN.com that the sale agreement announced last week to transfer the Bucks from longtime owner Herb Kohl to Edens and Lasry for a purchase price of $550 million includes a provision that allows the league to buy back the team for $575 million if construction on a new building in Milwaukee is not underway by the deadline. ESPN.com

April 20, 2014 Updates

Q: Both of you know the metrics of this past season. Last in attendance, worst record, one of the smallest markets, if not the smallest market, in the NBA. Tiny TV ratings. What convinces you that this market can come back and you can bring fans into the arena. A: Edens: First of all, I love underdogs, and I think Marc loves underdogs. The notion of buying into a team at this time in some respects is perfect. There is no doubt there is a tremendous fan base in Milwaukee and in the Wisconsin area for sports. All you have to do is look at the attendance figures for the Brewers. Go to a Packers game. There is no doubt there is a huge fan interest for it. We just have to create a product that everybody is excited about...In the NBA you can become competitive in a very short time if you get the right people in charge and you get the right players on the court playing the right way. I think it's a great opportunity. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Lasry: I agree with Wes. Part of this for us, you can only go up, right? If you look at this, if we do the right things. If we pick the right players. If everything works the way hopefully it will and we can follow the model of San Antonio or the (Oklahoma City) Thunder. I think, look, all everybody wants is the same thing we do. Everybody just wants a winner. If you're winning, people show up. If you're losing, people get discouraged. I think in Milwaukee, you've had one championship and sort of everybody talks about the glory days...When you're talking to your kids about the glory days, your kids look at you and say, "You're fricking crazy." When we talk about the Knicks in New York, they're like, "The Knicks suck. They haven't done anything lately." Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Q: What fueled your interest in buying a professional basketball team? A: Edens: From my standpoint, I've been very interested in being involved in a professional sports franchise for a long time. Two things I'm most passionate about in life are sports and business. And the nexus of those two is a professional sports team. I love the prospects for the business aspects of it. For our company we invest in business in a variety of different industries. That's just a tremendously fun, interesting pastime...In the NBA, it's just one of the greatest sports you can be involved in. It's a fantastic league and a fantastic product. It's a lot of fun. That's what it is for me. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Q: What if this arena plan fails? Some people have suggested there is a provision in the sale agreement that if you are unable to secure an arena, the NBA would buy the team back from you and start anew. Is that in your sale agreement? A: Edens: I don't think it's appropriate for us to comment about the sale agreement. It's really the NBA's place if they want to make a comment on that. I can just say that it's not allowed to not happen. We don't really believe that getting an arena built is anything but an absolute positive outcome for everybody. There's no real energy or value in coming up with other alternatives. We are going to build an arena. We are going to be part of the community. The Bucks are going to be a great basketball team. That's our goal and that's what's going to happen. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

April 18, 2014 Updates

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban considers the sale price of approximately $550 million for the Milwaukee Bucks to be a bargain, suggesting the true value of NBA franchises is north of $1 billion. Longtime Bucks owner Herb Kohl announced Wednesday that he had reached an agreement to sell the team to hedge-fund billionaires Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry, a deal subject to approval by the NBA and its board of governors. "I think they got off cheap," Cuban said. "I think that was a bargain. I think it's worth a lot more. I think it's worth a lot more than that. I think someone got a bargain. You can't look backwards. You've got to look forward. You don't value teams based off what happened in the past." ESPN.com

April 17, 2014 Updates

The ownership change creates plenty of uncertainty for the Bucks management team led by general manager John Hammond and the players and coaching staff. Hammond and coach Larry Drew both have two years remaining on their contracts, and the Bucks are coming off the worst season in franchise history — a 15-67 effort that has earned the team the best chance in next month's NBA draft lottery of landing the No. 1 pick. "It's life; it's a business," Kohl said. "They understand. Whether we have new management, I would have the same choices to make (if he had remained team owner). "I hope good things happen for everybody, but you're running a business. It involves making choices. By the way, it's never come up. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Edens said pending league approval of the purchase, he and Lasry would begin to speak with the basketball staff and others in the organization. "It's Day 1 for us," Edens said. "And it's a process. We've had a lot of experience in investing in various businesses and successful ones are run by great organizations. We're all about hiring the right people and having the right people in place. "We think there are a lot of terrific people in the organization. We haven't really spent any time assessing people in the organization in any meaningful way. We're going to figure it out." Edens said, "Obviously there's a big draft coming up and there's a talent assessment going into that." "We'll start immediately but it becomes in earnest once we have closed on the transaction." Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

April 16, 2014 Updates

Bucks owner Herb Kohl was well past retirement age and realized it was time to secure the future of the franchise. He had one big caveat for any potential investors: Keep the team in his hometown of Milwaukee. And he found a buyer. The former U.S. senator is banking on New York investment firm executives Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens to follow through after agreeing to sell them the Bucks for about $550 million. The deal is subject to approval by the NBA and its board of governors. "I wasn't going to live forever. I've approached a time in my life where I have to think about ... how do we think about succession," Kohl, 79, said Wednesday at a news conference in the atrium of the BMO Harris Bradley Center. The deal was announced hours before the team was to play its final game of a dismal season. USA Today Sports

THE TOP 50 PLAYERS
IN BUCKS HISTORY
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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is No. 1 in a list filled with old-school players at the top.

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