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March 11, 2015 Updates

Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has ended his agreement with investment bank Evercore Partners, who he hired to explore a sale of the team, banking sources told ESPN.com on Tuesday. Prokhorov, who owns 80 percent of the team and 45 percent of Barclays Center, hired the bank in January to take offers on the heels of Steve Ballmer's $2 billion purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers. But in recent days, the idea that the team would be sold in the very-near future didn't seem likely. ESPN.com

Before he goes, Bryant hopes to see the Lakers transition to the player who will lead the franchise back to a championship. "I'd rather much rather hand the keys over to somebody that can take this organization right from the jump," Bryant said. "But if not, even when I retire, that's one of the things that I'll be hell-bent on with [owners] Jeanie [Buss] and Jimmy [Buss], to make sure this franchise gets back." Los Angeles Times

March 9, 2015 Updates

The new TV deal is going to flood teams with cash, but that doesn’t happen day one – many teams are not going to have the cash flow to meet a $75-$80 million salary without financing some of that. What they need is for tat first TV check to come through and then they have the cash to pay out bigger salaries. That’s why the NBA is pushing for smoothing to make it more seamless to the owners. So I spoke with someone involved in the last labor deal just to get a perspective is using this as leverage for a deal was possible and the stance the league takes in reaching a deal and how the players as a group approached the last two deals simply makes it unrealistic to think that just because NBPA leadership is changing that they will somehow gain the advantage in negotiation – being tougher simply means you lose more. I think there are things the NBA owners could concede to, given where things are financially, but to tip over the table as a negotiation stance seems foolish, but plays back to the concept of not knowing how much you don’t know. Basketball Insiders

March 4, 2015 Updates

Mark Rachesky, chairman of Lionsgate Entertainment and a noted distressed-asset investor, has emerged as the most recent bidder for the Atlanta Hawks, according to league sources. Sources told ESPN.com that Rachesky, ‎who heads the investment firm MHR Fund Management, is a close associate of Atlanta Braves controlling owner John Malone, which is said to have sparked Rachesky's interest in the Hawks. Rachesky is not known to have previously expressed interest in purchasing a sports franchise, but he is regarded as a protégé of activist investor Carl Icahn and brought Malone onto the Lionsgate board last month. ESPN.com

Rachesky's bid is expected to include a handful of minority investors, including Steve Starker, Randy Frankel and Jesse Itzler, who is a former rapper and recent Atlanta transplant who moved from New York to ‎Georgia last fall. ESPN.com

Sources say that Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins, meanwhile, is also expected to be a prominent member of a bid for the Hawks, though it remains to be seen whether Wilkins plans to join one of the groups known to be in the running or if he will make a run at the team with his own group. ESPN.com

March 3, 2015 Updates

The DeVos family, which owns the Orlando Magic and Amway, has purchased a minority stake in the Chicago Cubs. “Hailing from the Midwest and having followed the Chicago Cubs for many years, the DeVos Family is proud to confirm that we have invested a non-controlling interest in the Chicago Cubs and the Wrigley Field renovation project,” the family said in a statement issued to the Orlando Sentinel. “We respectfully refer any further questions on this topic to the Cubs organization.” Orlando Sentinel

The still new-ish commissioner used the powerful forum of the league's annual Technology Summit -- full of sports business insiders in expensive suits -- to reiterate his position. What was most notable, though, was how thoroughly in line behind him NBA owners are. The panel discussions traditionally are off the record, so I cannot quote the pro-gambling positions uttered on stage. But in follow-up interviews, it was clear that almost everyone sees gold in Silver's strategy. Newsday

March 2, 2015 Updates

Michael Jordan is a rookie on the Forbes billionaire list, coming in at a tie for the 1,741st richest person in the world. Though the Nike Air Jordan brand continues to do bonkers sales ($2.25 billion in 2013, from which Jordan earned $90 million), the biggest reason for his leap onto the list is his ownership in the Hornets — his stake in the franchise now supposedly worth over $500 million after Steve Ballmer dropped $2 billion on the Clippers. Now that MJ has cleared this imaginary hurdle, total happiness and fulfillment are surely close behind. The Big Lead

Other majority team owners who made this top 400 richest included Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov (No. 125, $9.9 billion), Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich (No. 137, $9.1 billion), Miami Heat owner Micky Arison (No. 191, $7.1 billion), Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross (No. 216, $6.5 billion), St. Louis Rams, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke (No. 225, $6.3 billion), Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos (No. 259, $5.7 billion), Detroit Tigers and Red Wings owner Michael Ilitch (No. 330, $4.8 billion), Jacksonville Jaguars and Fulham FC owner Shahid Khan (No. 330, $4.8 billion), Washington Nationals owner Ted Lerner (No. 330, $4.8 billion), the New York Knicks and Rangers owners, the Dolans (No. 381, $4.3 billion), New England Patriots and Revolution owner Robert Kraft (No. 381, $4.3 billion) and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones ($4.2 billion). ESPN.com

A handful of potential suitors here and abroad are interested in making a play for the Brooklyn Nets as the auction for the NBA franchise gears up, The Post has learned. Chinese conglomerate Fosun and the Qatari government’s investment fund have signaled an interest in buying the pro basketball team from majority owner and Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. New York Post

Some believe delaying the Nets sale is Silver’s goal. The Atlanta Hawks also are for sale, with bids said to be around $900 million, and the NBA may not want prospective buyers to be split between the teams. China’s Fosun is also in the bidding for the Hawks, sources said. New York Post

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