SBD/Issue 102/Franchises

NBA Franchise Notes: Cavs Investor Still Trying To Finalize Sale

In Detroit, Myers & Ellis noted Cavaliers Vice Chair David Katzman "has been trying to sell his share of the Cavs to a series of Chinese investors." While an agreement with Albert Hung was announced in December "with a price tag estimated as high as" $70M, NBA VP/Basketball Communications Tim Frank Saturday in an e-mail said that the deal "has not been finalized." Meanwhile, Myers & Ellis reported Katzman has been rumored as a possible candidate to buy the Pistons from Owner Karen Davidson, but he "could not purchase the Pistons if he still owned a part of the Cavs." If Katzman does purchase the Pistons, the sale "could be approved by the NBA quicker than normal because he already has been vetted as a previous owner" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 2/7).

Lakers' Revenues Will Be Flat This Season
Due In Part To Salaries Of Odom, Gasol
SCALING BACK: In L.A., Mark Heisler reported Lakers Owner Jerry Buss is "on an austerity kick," as "with no raise in ticket prices, this season's revenues will be flat, a word Lakers officials use as if it means Great Depression." The issue "goes back to" the '08 trade for C Pau Gasol, which "went down because Buss alone would take on as much as $90[M] more in salary and tax over three seasons." Buss "never intended to pay all that, assuming Lamar Odom ... would leave when his contract was up, cutting that $90[M] in half." But Odom was "so good last spring, they decided they wanted him back." Heisler noted the Lakers last season earned $40M in profit, but Lakers sources said that coach Phil Jackson "will be asked to take a pay cut" after this season (L.A. TIMES, 2/7).

BEST MAN FOR THE JOB? In Charlotte, Tom Sorensen noted this season marks the fifth year that Michael Jordan has been with the Bobcats, and the team is "by far the best it has been." Jordan "has not been terrible," but he "remains a better celebrity than a managing partner of basketball operations." His lifestyle "probably doesn't lend itself to commitment," as you "can't do basketball between rounds of golf, hands of blackjack and out-of-town appearances" on NBC's "The Jay Leno Show." The Postolos Group Owner George Postolos is in talks to buy the Bobcats from Owner Bob Johnson. Johnson "undoubtedly would prefer to sell to Michael, who owns a piece of the team," but "how hard is Michael willing to work to acquire it?" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/6).

TAKE IT FROM THE TOP: The L.A. TIMES' Heisler wrote the Clippers "aren't cursed," rather "everything is explainable in two words: Bad management." The arrival of GM and former coach Mike Dunleavy "changed that," as he won Owner Donald Sterling's trust "as no one ever had." But Dunleavy last week resigned as coach, remaining as GM. Heisler: "Amazingly, it stayed changed as Dunleavy lost Sterling's trust, remaining in charge because of the money he was owed" (L.A. TIMES, 2/7).

BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATERS: In Cleveland, Gabriel Baird reported the Cavaliers "have removed all water fountains" from Quicken Loans Arena, and "to get a drink of water at the arena, you must stand in line at a concession stand, where you can get a small courtesy cup of water for free or pay $4 for bottled water." Cavaliers Senior VP/Communications Tad Carper said that the team "took out the fountains in November to reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses that cause H1N1 flu and other illnesses." But officials from the NBA and the Int'l Association of Assembly Managers said that they are "not recommending that fountains be removed." NBA Senior VP/Basketball Communications Brian McIntyre said that he is "not aware of any other team that has taken this step," and he "did not know that the Cavs had removed fountains until he was informed by The Plain Dealer" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 2/8).

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