Wesley Edens Rumors
With the tenets of “Moneyball” now employed in the front offices of every major sport, perhaps it was inevitable that professional teams would turn to emotion metrics and neuroscience tools to try to gain an edge in evaluating players. “We spend quite a bit of time evaluating the players as basketball players and analytically,” said David Morway, Milwaukee’s assistant general manager, who works for the owners Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry. “But the difficult piece of the puzzle is the psychological side of it, and not only psychological, character and personality issues, but also team chemistry issues.”
Edens’ first call was to Lasry, a longtime friend. Lasry was interested but, Edens says, he was the one aggressively pushing the deal. “I gave Marc a hard time about stepping up,” Edens said. “We had one chance to buy a team that was close to New York, that was a great franchise in a great city.” To Edens and Lasry, one thing was made clear: If you want the team, you have to keep it in Milwaukee. Kohl, the former U.S. senator who had owned the team since 1985, had no interest in selling to a group that would move the franchise. “If he wanted to sell it to somebody who would have moved the team,” Edens said, “I think he could have gotten more for it. He was very clear from the first minute of the first meeting that it was important [for the Bucks to stay put].”
In fact, Edens said he had a group of Bucks players out to his summer home in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., in August to hear private presentations on financial management and other ways the players can better handle their finances. A source close to Edens said up to eight Bucks players chose to attend the voluntary session.
For example, Bucks top draft pick Jabari Parker, who spent one year at Duke University before going pro, signed a $22.3 million, four-year contract. “I want to help guys out to understand financially how to be in a better place,” he said. “I know when I was 22 (years old), I made a lot of bad decisions.”
In a dramatic expansion of their ownership group, the Milwaukee Bucks will announce Friday that five prominent African-American business leaders and philanthropists, as well as two well-known Milwaukee business executives, have joined the franchise. Their addition gives Bucks owners Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry and new investor Jamie Dinan, whose ownership stake had not been widely known, enhanced credibility as they continue to work not only on rebuilding the franchise but also on setting the stage for what is expected to be a major downtown economic redevelopment project. While specifics of what the three have in mind beyond building a new arena have yet to be disclosed, the Bucks made a point in their announcement to say that members of Partners for Community Impact, or PCI, had previously been involved in urban economic development and renewal projects.