Los Angeles Dodgers Rumors
Even as it prepares to host Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night at Oracle Arena, the city is left to wonder whether this Warriors run represents its last shot at a major sports championship. Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who grew up in the neighboring town of Alameda rooting for the A’s and Warriors (the Raiders were mostly in L.A. at the time), pondered the prospect of the clubs abandoning the East Bay with sadness. “It would be a sports-bankrupt city, or side of the bay,” he said. “You know what happens when sports franchises and big businesses leave. Places become very desolate. Somehow, someway, sports has a way of curbing crime. It gives you something to do, something to watch.”
Los Angeles Dodgers controlling owner Mark Walter confirmed his Guggenheim group is interested in acquiring a piece of the Brooklyn Nets. “We’re going ahead hopefully. I haven’t seen any numbers on it. I think it’s a great franchise,” Walter said. “I haven’t heard that it is signed.” SB Nation reported on Thursday that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov was in talks with Guggenheim, and a person familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports the two sides are having discussions.
Los Angeles Dodgers controlling owner Mark Walter confirmed his Guggenheim group is interested in acquiring a piece of the Brooklyn Nets. “We’re going ahead hopefully. I haven’t seen any numbers on it. I think it’s a great franchise,” Walter said. “I haven’t heard that it is signed.”
“I expected it,” Paul said on Saturday. “When they came and asked me to that thing with Carl Crawford, I said they were going to boo the life out of me. I told Cat (Belanger, the Dodgers’ broadcast and entertainment coordinator). She’s been there every time that I’ve been there for games and she was like, ‘It’s cool.’” Paul was booed last season when he threw out the first pitch to Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp along with his four-year-old son, Chris. “The craziest one is when I had ‘Little Chris’ with me,” Paul said. “But he didn’t know what was going on. Now if I take him he’ll know what’s going on.”
When Chris Paul was shown on the big screen at Dodger Stadium on Friday during the Los Angeles Dodgers’ home opener against the San Francisco Giants, he was booed louder than any Giants player on the field. The reception didn’t come as a surprise to Paul, who smiled while being jeered and playing an in-stadium trivia game with Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford.
Bottom line: Are the Lakers in danger of missing the playoffs? “I wouldn’t go that far,” Johnson said. “Last year was supposed to be bad. They still made it. They’re out in the first round, but the Clippers went out in the first round just like the Lakers and they won the division. I just hope they turn it around.”
The Dodgers haven’t won the World Series since 1988, an uncommonly long drought for the team that moved here in 1958, two years before the Lakers arrived from Minneapolis. The Lakers, meanwhile, have won five of the last 13 NBA championships but have had quick playoff exits the last three years. Et tu, Earvin? “Remember this: It can be both,” he said in Atlanta, where the Dodgers faced the Braves. “Yeah, the Dodgers are on fire right now. Why does it have to be one or the other? We have a sports town. Right now, this is Dodger time. Everybody knows that. Once we see how our run is and the Lakers start up, then it’s going to turn back to the Lakers.”
Scott will have no problem getting a line on good Los Angeles Dodgers tickets. His former teammate and good friend Magic Johnson is part of an ownership consortium that’s reportedly purchasing the Dodgers for a record $2.15 billion. “I know he’s got a lot of money, but I think he was able to say, ‘I’ll put in this amount and you can use me in the public and be more of a [public relations] guy as well and the face of the franchise, which I think is probably invaluable, especially being in Los Angeles,” Scott said Wednesday.
Reactions from the Lakers and throughout the NBA on news that Magic Johnson’s group is buying the Dodgers: — Jerry Buss, Lakers owner: “Magic Johnson is probably the most beloved sports figure in Los Angeles history. In addition to being a phenomenal success on the court in leading the Lakers to five NBA championships, he has been a success in everything else he’s become involved with, most notably his spectacular business career and also his educational campaign on behalf of HIV awareness. I’d like to congratulate Magic and his partners on their acquisition of the Dodgers and wish them the best of luck.” — Kobe Bryant: “Magic’s got his hands everywhere, man. But I’m happy for him. Obviously, everybody knows how well-loved he is in Los Angeles and he’s starting another chapter in his life and another chapter in his post-NBA career of rebuilding the Dodgers’ franchise.”
Three years ago, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt outlined a $500 million project around the stadium that would include parking structures, a Dodgers museum and a plaza behind center field with year-round shops and restaurants. Such a sweeping project could add more revenue streams for the future owners and potentially raise the price of the team. “As a comparison, the Chicago Cubs went for $845 million two years ago, and I think most people looking at the revenue streams between the Dodgers and Cubs would have them being pretty comparable,” said Victor Matheson, a sports economist and an associate professor of economics at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. “It’s probably more in favor of the Dodgers because they have such a huge area that could also be redeveloped. The Cubs’ deal includes Wrigley Field, but that’s tied into the city grid there so there’s only so much you can do. The Dodgers really do have space there for other projects.”
A record price tag of $1 billion can be expected for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Dodger Stadium and the surrounding real estate, according to several sports economists following the team’s upcoming sale. “If you’re talking about the asset value of the Dodgers franchise, the stadium, the parking lots and the surrounding acreage, I think a number in neighborhood of $1 billion is reasonable,” Andrew Zimbalist, a professor of economics at Smith College, said last week. “I believe the reasonable or final offer will be $900 million to $1 billion.”
The deal, revealed about five hours after Major League Baseball owners approved three finalists for an intended auction, is one of several steps toward a sale of the team by the end of April. It is subject to approval in federal bankruptcy court. “I am thrilled to be part of the historic Dodger franchise and intend to build on the fantastic foundation laid by Frank McCourt as we drive the Dodgers back to the front page of the sports section in our wonderful community of Los Angeles,” Johnson said in a statement. As part of the agreement, the Dodgers said McCourt and “certain affiliates of the purchasers” would acquire the land surrounding Dodger Stadium, including its parking lots, for $150 million. “If they invested that much money, I’m sure they’ll invest to get us a winner,” said Tommy Lasorda, the Dodgers’ retired Hall of Fame manager. “I wish them all the luck, and I admire them. I know both of them. I know Magic from the day he came into Los Angeles as a basketball player for the Lakers.”
One Los Angeles institution is buying another. A group that includes former Lakers star Magic Johnson and longtime baseball executive Stan Kasten agreed Tuesday night to buy the Dodgers from Frank McCourt for a record $2 billion. The price would shatter the mark for a sports franchise. Stephen Ross paid $1.1 billion for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins in 2009, and in England, Malcolm Glazer and his family took over the Manchester United soccer club in 2005 in a deal then valued at $1.47 billion.
Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley and Los Angeles investor Tony Ressler have joined forces and reentered the bidding for the Dodgers, a person familiar with the sale process said Monday. Ressler, a minority investor in the Milwaukee Brewers, is believed to be the only remaining bidder currently involved in MLB. The Heisley-Ressler bid would be the eighth submitted to Major League Baseball for consideration. MLB has agreed to approve up to 10 bidders, after which outgoing owner Frank McCourt will select the winner.
Heisley leads one of 11 bids that survived the initial cut in the Dodgers’ ownership derby. His bid, which had not previously surfaced publicly, was confirmed Wednesday by three people familiar with the sale process but not authorized to discuss it. The remaining bidders can merge, and late entrants can emerge, but for now the field appears set, according to one of those people.
Michael Heisley, the billionaire owner of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies, has emerged as one of the remaining bidders for the Dodgers. If Heisley were to buy the Dodgers, Lakers legend and former Grizzlies executive Jerry West probably would join the team in some capacity, according to a person familiar with the sale process.
The process could begin next week, when the investment bank handling the sale of the Dodgers is expected to provide prospective buyers with confidential financial data in a bid book. He “will see a book,” Cuban wrote in an email. Cuban told the Los Angeles Times last month that he had inquired about buying the Dodgers but “wasn’t interested” at an asking price of at least $1 billion.