Peter Guber Rumors

In 1988, the Pistons moved even further north — 31 miles north of Detroit on Interstate 75 — to Auburn Hills, where auto-affiliated companies like BorgWarner, the parts manufacturer, and Autoliv, which makes seatbelts, airbags and other safety products, have their corporate headquarters. “It certainly went from being a blue-collar crowd at the Silverdome to a white-collar crowd,” said Joe Dumars, who played 13 seasons in Detroit after being drafted by the Pistons in 1986. “We used to always acknowledge that. The Silverdome crowd were the assembly workers who built the cars, and the Palace crowd was the executives of the auto companies.” But the move to Auburn Hills was nonetheless a financial boon for the franchise.
The new arena will seat 18,000, less capacity than the 19,500-plus that have sold out 133 consecutive games at Oracle. There are local groups that oppose building at the new site, which is near a children’s hospital, because of concerns about egress to the hospital on game nights. But the city issued an 800-page environmental impact study on Friday that claimed it would be able to handle the additional traffic that would develop in the area if the arena — scheduled to open for the 2018-19 season — gets final approval.
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Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber made a public commitment soon after buying the team from Cohen in 2010 that they would privately finance a new arena, without any money from Bay Area municipalities, in San Francisco. The costs of the new building and surrounding developments in the Mission Bay area of the city are estimated at $1 billion. Lacob and Guber spent $450 million on the team and they’re committing up to a billion for the new digs. They have to start making their money back at some point.
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Curry indicated that, based on his relationship with Guber, it was an “honest mistake,” adding that he has read previous emails that appeared to have mistakes resulting from the “quirkiness” of Guber’s typing. “Hearing how his reaction to when he found out what exactly happened seemed genuine,” Curry said. “(I) kind of got to assess the situation for his character and who he is, and that’s kind of how I’m going about it.
Guber’s initial email was sent throughout the franchise and construed as “offensive” by at least one team employee. Late Monday, Guber sent a follow-up email saying he mistakenly typed “hoodish” and regretted the error. “Someone just brought to my attention that an email I responded to earlier contains the word ‘hoodish,’ which I don’t even think Is a Word, and certainly not the one I intended to use,” Guber wrote in the email. “I intended to type Yiddish. Either my mobile fone [sic] autocorrected or it was typed wrong. In any event I regret if anyone was unintendedly [sic] offended.”
Guber’s email, which was sent from his phone and obtained by Yahoo Sports, came after the NBA announced in a news release earlier Monday that the league’s 30 teams will have a record 101 international players from 37 countries and territories on opening-night rosters for the upcoming season. Warriors director of media relations Raymond Ridder forwarded the league’s release in an email sent through the franchise, saying, “The following is a great example of the growth of our league. There are 101 international players on NBA opening night rosters, which represents 22% of the league. We have five [5] international players on our roster (33%), which includes Andrew Bogut, Leandro Barbosa, Festus Ezeli, Ognjen Kuzmic and Nemanja Nedovic. We’ve come a long way…” Guber responded to the email by writing, “I’m taking rosetta stone to learn Hungarian Serbian Australian swahili and hoodish This year. But it’s nice.”
The Warriors have moved off of their long-stated plans to build an arena at Piers 30/32 in San Francisco and have bought land a little further south. The new spot is not aesthetically ideal—not right on the water, not framed by the Bay Bridge for TV visuals, not where Joe Lacob and Peter Guber held their splashy press conference starring David Stern and Ahmad Rashad two years ago. But the “ideal” spot was Piers 30/32 and several of us have been documenting for years now that the logistics and political hurdles at Piers 30/32 were just too much.
Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, the Co-Executive Chairmen of the Golden State Warriors, announced today that longtime Silicon Valley venture capitalist Mark Stevens has purchased the equity interests of the team that were previously held by Vivek Ranadive and joined the team’s ownership group as an Executive Board Member. The terms of Stevens’ acquisition were not released. Ranadive was required to relinquish his stake in the club after leading a group that purchased a controlling interest in the Sacramento Kings on May 31, 2013.
Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, who have owned the team for 18 months, have made no secret of their desire to move to San Francisco. The team has held three major press conferences in San Francisco and neither has denied interest in relocation from Oakland. The plan would be to build a state-of-the-art arena at Piers 30-32, currently being unused at the time. The goal would be to move into the building by the start of the 2017-18 season. The press conference is expected to be held at this site.
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It feels like Joe Lacob and Peter Guber should be getting close to some decision–their lease in Oakland runs out in 2017, and the run-up to a new arena would probably start next year in earnest. I’d guess the Warriors will tell everybody by the end of this year, at the latest, where they want to be for the long-term. So those judgments are being discussed now, you’d think. But I checked and was told quite firmly that the Warriors have made no decisions on a preferred site and would not be making any imminent announcements. They’re still looking at Oakland sites, in addition to the much-discussed site adjacent to AT&T Park, in conjunction with the Giants. I’d say the SF site is by far the leader in the clubhouse, but I guess Lacob and Guber are still not all the way to the point where they’re committed to that project.
As he watches Orlando superstar Dwight Howard ultimately lead the Magic to a comeback win by torching the Warriors for 45 points and 23 rebounds—tying an NBA record of 39 free throw attempts in the process—Lacob could only dream of luring the dominant big man to the Bay Area. Tampering rules prohibit him from commenting on the NBA rumor mill that includes Golden State as a possible landing spot for Howard, who’s contemplating his exit strategy to a bigger market. Whether the future franchise player is Howard or someone else, Guber and Lacob figure their job is to make the team a true destination. “This market should be elite, a place that players want to come to,” Guber says. Now, that would be something to see.
While Lacob loves a game, Guber, who makes it up from L.A. only periodically, loves a show. The flamboyant onetime head of Sony Pictures is the creative mind behind turning the Warriors into an entertainment product, especially for the fair-weather fan and especially as the losses pile up yet again (they were 5-9 during this year’s early going). A very young 69, he owns or operates five minor league baseball teams through his company Mandalay Entertainment. To him the people streaming through the turnstiles aren’t fans, customers or guests. They’re the audience. “The experience starts in the parking lot,” he says of the club’s beefed-up customer ser­vice operation, the 191 Wi-Fi spots scattered through the arena and a plan for cashless concession stands. “There’s uncertainty in winning,” he says in a Boston accent, still thick almost 50 years after his departure from his hometown, “but there’s no uncertainty in the experience.”
But Guber and Lacob will laugh last. They’ve followed a classic real estate maxim—buying the worst property in the best neighborhood. “You’re in a hot market with a lot of money and a lot of tech companies,” says Lacob. “People realize this team has been an underperforming asset. If it improves on the court it will be worth a lot more.” The numbers back him up: Despite comic ineptitude—the team has logged only two winning seasons and one playoff appearance in the past 17 years—the Warriors’ $450 million valuation places them eighth on FORBES’ franchise rankings, up four spots from last year. Some think they could jump even higher. “This could be one of the most valuable teams in the NBA,” says consultant Marc Ganis of SportsCorp. “It’s a great sponsor and TV market.”
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Courtside before tip-off against the Orlando Magic, Golden State Warriors’ co-owner Peter Guber has his eye on the ball. Not one on the court, but rather the sphere fans are passing around in the dank upper reaches of Oracle Arena. A fast-moving spotlight struggles to follow along as it’s flicked around the stands, finally landing in a referee’s hands to start the game. “You can’t see where it is, can you?” Guber squawks with delight, thrilled by the latest gimmick he’s brought to Bay Area basketball. Sure it’s corny. But it’s working. The house is rocking, even as it falls a bit short of its sixth sellout in the first seven home games. The Warriors will lose tonight, but Guber, the longtime entertainment impresario who has done everything from movies to minor league baseball ownership, still puts on a pretty good show.
“The potential for building an arena near AT&T Park is very exciting,” Lacob said. “The Giants have done some remarkable things over there. It’s a great ballpark that revitalized an entire part of the city. “It took a year to get our feet wet, examine the organization and make a lot of changes. Step 2 is starting the process of getting a new arena somewhere in the Bay Area. We’re a Bay Area team. We consider the whole Bay Area our market, whether we’re located in San Francisco or Oakland.”
The Warriors met Wednesday with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Giants CEO Larry Baer to discuss the feasibility of erecting a new, state-of-the-art arena near AT&T Park that would open before the 2017-18 season. Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber have talked about the need to replace Oracle Arena in Oakland since buying the basketball team in July 2010, but this is the first time they have publicly stated their intent to explore options in San Francisco. They have also had discussions with Oakland Mayor Jean Quan about building an arena at their current East Bay site.
Your job is not to instill in the Golden State Warriors an ethic of tolerance, but do you hope to have an impact — do you feel obliged to have an impact — on, say, Dorell Wright, Steph Curry, Monta Ellis and Mark Jackson, who is an observant evangelical Christian? Is “making a contribution,” as you say, a hands-on experience whereby you speak to the team for 15 minutes one afternoon after practice and tell your story? Rick Welts: The answer is, “I don’t know.” I had a great conversation with Mark on the phone. Everyone in the organization has been incredible. I’ll tell you one of the most gratifying experiences I’ve had since May — and you’ll understand this — is the interview I had with the Warriors. I was with Peter Guber and Joe Lacob for six hours. I realized I didn’t have to guess what they knew or might have known or how they’d feel about it, whether they’d have a problem with that, because I was out.