Owners Rumors

Orlando Magic Chief Executive Officer Alex Martins has been named to Orlando Magazine’s Most Powerful People list for the eighth consecutive year, ranking twelfth on this year’s list. Martins has remained a fixture in the rankings of the most dynamic leaders in Central Florida for much of the past decade. He was a “Hall of Power” member after ranking in Orlando Magazine’s Top 5 for five years in a row of their “Most Powerful People” rankings and sat atop that list in 2012.
Ballmer, the former CEO of Microsoft, has been a part of several brand launches that have elicited mixed feedback from consumers. He was well aware of the backlash that the new logo received on social media Wednesday and Thursday. “Many people really don’t like change in this world, they really don’t,” Ballmer said. “If we changed the user interface on a software product, people didn’t like it. Some people do but the people that are set and comfortable don’t like it. I know when newspapers change their formats, it takes getting used to and this will take some getting used to for people who really liked where we were. The overwhelming sentiment from the people who communicated with me initially was ‘change.’ I’m glad we did what we did and I don’t expect to do it every year.”
Some professional sports teams take two years working on rebranding, but Ballmer said he felt the need to introduce change before this season, ahead on the one-year anniversary of his purchase of the team. He also said he briefly considered changing the team name before ultimately deciding to keep it. “I think the name has actually developed value,” Ballmer said. “It’s a name that stands for a team overcoming difficulty. I kind of like that. Overcoming difficulty is not a bad thing. So I didn’t want to change the name. I was kind of hardcore about that in my thinking but I did want to signal a new day, a new age and a new generation. So we said let’s keep the colors, keep the name and change everything else.”
“It was important because I know I bought a team in L.A. that will be in L.A. forever,” Ballmer said. “I know a lot of people say, ‘Hey, the guy doesn’t live here and what’s that all about?’ But the Clippers will always be in L.A. Hey, let’s face it, for most of our history we’ve been the number two team in L.A., but we embrace this place and we’re as fired about it and care as much about it as anybody else around. We’re here. We’ll always be here. I don’t even think about it. I’ve never thought about it. I was quite clear when we were bidding on Sacramento, the group that I was with, we were moving the team to Seattle. But when I bought a team in L.A. there was no question in my mind that was a team for L.A. I like L.A. It’s a place I like to come visit. It’s a wonderful place. While my family will stay living where we’re living, that doesn’t mean this isn’t a great place to get away for business and watch games and do all that. It’s a great place. The value of the team is highly dependent on it being here in L.A. If you move a team anywhere else, it’s not the same. Atlanta just sold for $850 million. That’s not what I paid for L.A.”
Kidd owns 0.42 percent (roughly 2/5ths of one percent) of Nets Sports & Entertainment, the minority stakeholder in team and arena, said a source familiar with Kidd’s holdings. That in turn gives him a 0.084 percent (roughly 1/12th of one percent) stake in the team and 0.231 percent (roughly 1/4 of one percent) stake in the arena, according to the source. The disparity is due to the larger NS&E stake in the arena. In addition, NS&E reportedly owns a stake in Nassau Events, LLC, which is rehabbing the Nassau Coliseum, through NS&E. The investments are indivisible, according to a league source, that is, he can’t dispose of the interest in the team and retain the interest in the arena.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is donating $5 million to Indiana University, his alma mater, for a new technology center that will give students a leg up in the business world and possibly a competitive advantage to Hoosier sports teams. An official announcement came Friday in Bloomington. The new Mark Cuban Center for Sports Media and Technology will be built inside Assembly Hall, where the Hoosiers’ basketball teams play. Cuban says students and coaches will have access to 3-D, multicamera and virtual reality technology, some of which isn’t even available commercially yet. The Dallas Mavericks team owner says he came up with the idea as he looked for ways to give his team a competitive advantage in the NBA, and thought the Hoosiers should have the same advantages.
“My family didn’t talk to me for a while, because I was selling the team. They were all against me,” she says over a late-afternoon snack around the small table in their airy, beach-facing kitchen. The Sterling family had owned the Clippers for 30 years. It’s who they were. And in a little over a month, that life was finished. Shelly hasn’t given any interviews in the year since she sold the team to Steve Ballmer for a record $2 billion on May 29, 2014. When people ask to take pictures with her, she politely declines. “That’s not my role,” she explains. “My role is to not be known.”
But in looking at how she spent this past year, it does seem that she’s been looking for a way forward while preserving the parts of the past she never wanted to let go. “It was very difficult for me to lose the team,” she says. “It was like my family. I’ve seen them [the Clippers] grow for 33 years. The coach [Rivers] used to be our player. And now to see his son [Austin Rivers] play, it’s like part of your family. “I never wanted to sell it, and we never would’ve sold it. But I didn’t want to see it being dismantled. I mean, maybe they wouldn’t even play for the whole year. I didn’t know what the league was going to do. The only thing I knew is that I had to keep the team from being dismantled.”
Yet there are also persistent rumbles in league circles that the real reason the Nets aren’t being actively shopped to potential bidders is the structure of the deal Prokhorov struck to buy the team mandates he sell Barclays Center in conjunction with his basketball team. Word is the entities can’t be sold separately, which is said to have chilled the market due to the complexities involved in such a transaction and the significant price tag it would carry.
The group leading the bid to bring the 2024 Olympics to Boston is shaking up its management. Boston Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca is taking over the bid committee, replacing construction magnate John Fish. The group is trying to revive its chances of bringing the Summer Games to the city after early stumbles left the USOC second-guessing its decision to pick Boston as the American bid city. The USOC would have to submit a formal bid to the IOC in September. The host nation will be picked in 2017. Boston is expected to compete against Rome; Paris; Hamburg, Germany; and Budapest, Hungary.
NBA Communications: Today’s @kevinmdraper Deadspin post is grossly misleading and contains many false assertions. FACT: Roughly 1/3 of teams losing $ this year. New TV money does not kick in until 2016-17 season. As in past, all league and team audited financials will be shared w/ NBPA in collective bargaining. Avg player compensation in ’16-17 projected to be more than $8 million, roughly 50% higher than ’10-11. Notion that BRI rules disadvantage players is fiction. Specifically: 1. BRI definition hardly ‘out-of-date’; was negotiated in 2011 w/ NBPA; 2. Assertion that CBA assumes “owner doesn’t own any related businesses” is false; 3. CBA expressly addresses related parties, incl. arenas and broadcasters, to ensure players get fair share of BRI; 4. Equity received in broadcast deals is not a BRI “workaround.” 2011 CBA specifically covers receipt of equity; 5. BRI reviewed by NBPA and audited by independent accountants every year.
Even with the union demurring, you can bet that the Knicks will be one of the five, and that more generally the union will target teams that earn the most revenue and have a host of complicated related party issues. An informed guess would be that the Knicks, Nets, Mavericks, Nuggets, and Lakers will be audited, with the Rockets, Bulls, and Warriors candidates as well.
Now the NBPA has decided to once again undertake an action sure to displease the league’s owners, telling Deadspin that it plans to exercise its option to audit the books of up to five teams later this summer. The union has held this right since at least 1995, but has rarely, if ever, utilized it. The collective bargaining agreement, or CBA, that governs the league doesn’t expire until 2021, but either side may give notice by Dec. 15 of next year that it plans to opt out after the 2017 season. Roberts herself has said that it is a “pretty good bet” that the union will opt out, and independent experts don’t think she’s bluffing.
The announcement of Williams’ firing was made via press release in which executive vice president Mickey Loomis and GM Dell Demps expressed nothing but praise for Williams, who’d become not only popular in the locker room but also influential in the league as a member of the competition committee and, like Thibodeau, an assistant with Team USA. But league sources pointed out Tuesday that the people whose names were on the press release may not be the ones making the decision. Former Pistons executive Joe Dumars, a Louisiana native, has been providing input with the team and has a close relationship with Loomis and owner Tom Benson.
Mikhail Prokhorov has said he never wanted to sell a majority interest in the team. “I never intended to sell the team and have looked at selling only the minority stake,” he said on April 8, noting there have been “approximately” 10 offers for his shares. “And for the time being there is nothing on the table. . . . If somebody wants to send me any kind of proposal, why not? Just to have a look. But we’re only speaking about minority stakes in the team.”
While his Nets battle in the playoffs, Mikhail Prokhorov will celebrate his 50th birthday over a wild weekend. The oligarch’s birthday is Sunday, and sources tell Page Six the Russian billionaire will throw a three-day bash at a new house he’s built in Turkey, where guests will include an endless supply of models. “They are being paid,” said a source. “Some have been offered $20,000 to attend a three-day party.” Guests will meet in Moscow and then fly privately to Milas–Bodrum Airport. His rep didn’t respond.
Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander is putting his Manhattan penthouse on the market for $49.75 million, just two years after he bought it for $42 million, according to listing agent Melanie Lazenby of Douglas Elliman Real Estate. The apartment is located at 18 Gramercy Park, a prewar building recently converted to condos by Zeckendorf Development and Global Holdings. Mr. Alexander bought the apartment from the developers, going into contract in 2012 and closing in 2013, according to Ms. Lazenby, who sold Mr. Alexander the property. She is co-listing the apartment with Dina Lewis.
“Our fans were truly galvanized by your dedication. Our theme this years was to Take Flight. I an confident that we have begun to take flight as a team. We now must turn our attention to getting better and coming back for the 1015-16 season with an even stronger resolve. I am very excited about the future of our Pelicans and you have my word and my resolve to bring everything to bear to win. New Orleans deserves an NBA Championship and we have the foundation, facilities and fans to make this a reality. Sincerely, Tom Benson, Owner.”
New Orleans Pelicans owner Tom Benson on Tuesday sent a letter of congratulations to coach Monty Williams and his staff and players, along with general manager Dell Demps and his staff for the team’s winning season and playoff appearance. The letter reads as follows: “Dear Monty, Dell and all of the Pelicans Coaches and Players: I wanted to thank each and everyone of you for a job well done this past season. We made the playoffs in a very strong finish at the end of the season. That is a tribute to your hard work and determination. You were able to overcome the adversities that face every team, but it was the way you all came together as a team that made us all very proud.