Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt "needs about $30 million to make his team’s payroll June 30, a critical indicator that a confrontation between” McCourt and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig over the future of the team "could loom by month’s end,” according to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. Sources said that McCourt is "expected to meet" the Dodgers' $10M payroll due tomorrow. But one of the sources indicated that the figure "roughly triples for the June 30 payment as several deferred salaries come due," including more than $8M to Manny Ramirez. One source said the Dodgers appear to have "no chance" to meet the June 30 payroll unless Selig approves the team's proposed new TV contract with Fox. Selig has indicated that he “would not consider approving the Fox deal until he receives the results of an investigation into the Dodgers’ finances,” which MLB officials hope to conclude “this month.” Absent approval of the Fox contract, “it is unclear how Frank McCourt could finance a divorce settlement without selling the Dodgers” (L.A. TIMES, 6/14). A source said that the Dodgers "must pay Manny Ramirez $8.33 million by June 30." The recently retired Ramirez is "due the deferred money" from the $42M contract he signed in '09. The Dodgers traded Ramirez to the White Sox last season, but "still owe him an additional $8.33 million in 2012 and $8.33 million in 2013" (ESPN.com, 6/13).
The Bobcats brought an "entirely different perspective to their front office" today, as they named former Trail Blazers GM Rich Cho to the same position, according to Rick Bonnell of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. Current Bobcats GM Rod Higgins, who was "elevated to the title of President of Basketball Operations," said of Cho, "He has a unique set of skills that I don't possess. His analytical mind is a big plus for us. His legal background is a big plus for us." Bonnell notes Cho became available in late May, after he was "abruptly fired 11 months into his tenure in Portland." Higgins "reached out to Cho within a day of his firing, then went to team owner Michael Jordan, lobbying to hire Cho." The Bobcats have two first-round picks in the June 23 NBA Draft, and Higgins said, "There's huge value in getting this done prior to this draft." Cho was "free to go to work immediately, and was in his office Monday at Time Warner Cable Arena." With the addition of Cho, Higgins said that he "likely will spend more of his time working in oversight with Jordan" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 6/14). Bonnell on his blog writes the move is "nothing like what the Bobcats" typically do. Bonnell: "Bravo" (CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.com, 6/14).
Mark Cuban “made the Mavericks relevant again with his big bankroll and even bigger zest for winning after purchasing the team” from Ross Perot Jr. in ’00, according to Brandon George of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. The Mavericks have “won at least 50 games in the regular season and reached the playoffs all 11 seasons of Cuban’s tenure,” and that “success energized the fan base.” The team has “sold out 399 consecutive regular-season home games, the longest streak in the NBA, and 58 straight playoff games.” After Sunday night’s title-clinching win over the Heat, Cuban “didn’t forget about what the lifelong Mavericks fans have been through, paying respects to original Mavericks owner Donald Carter by having him accept the championship trophy” from NBA Commissioner David Stern. George notes unlike “some of Cuban’s deals, his vested interest in the Mavericks has never been about making money.” He reportedly is “at least $150 million in the hole since purchasing the team.” But George adds, “That’s just fine with Cuban now that the Mavericks have cashed in with their first NBA championship. … Love him or hate him, Cuban did it his way” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/14). In San Antonio, Buck Harvey writes Cuban "changed the Mavericks nearly from the day he bought them." His enthusiasm "was real, and it often ended when it came to making basketball decisions for the franchise" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 6/14).
A NEW MARK: In N.Y., Karen Crouse writes Cuban “used this postseason to shine and buff his reputation and legacy.” Crouse: “Gone were the petulant outbursts. … Cuban remained in the background this time, content to let the spotlight stay on his players.” Allowing Carter to be presented with the trophy “represented one giant leap forward for his public image” (N.Y. TIMES, 6/14). In Ft. Worth, Clarence Hill Jr. writes Cuban “entered the 2011 playoffs as a wild card, even possibly a villain,” but that was “before he took himself out of the headlines.” And then when you "thought a giddy and rebellious Cuban might let loose after the Mavericks finally won it all -- especially with nemesis NBA commissioner David Stern handing him the Larry O’Brien Trophy -- he turned classy" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 6/14). In Pittsburgh, Rob Rossi writes Cuban’s “public image during this postseason changed dramatically” (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 6/14). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said of allowing original Mavs Owner Donald Carter to accept the trophy from Stern, "Cuban did a very magnanimous thing" ("PTI," ESPN, 6/13). In Dallas, Tim Cowlishaw writes, “Mostly, he acted with class." His "persistence paid off" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/14).
A DESERVED TRIUMPH: In Boston, Bob Ryan wrote no NBA owner “deserves a championship more than” Cuban. Ryan: “Not since the days of the owner-coaches … has the NBA had an owner who has worn his heart on his sleeve to the extent Mark Cuban has since purchasing the Dallas Mavericks in January of 2000. Love him or hate him, you cannot say he doesn’t care, nor can you say he hasn’t done everything humanly possible to bring a title to Dallas. As an owner, he is every fan’s dream.” However, Ryan wrote Cuban “should have accepted that trophy” from Stern. Ryan: “I know people will think he was being noble and gracious by allowing Mavericks founder Donald Carter to receive it from his long-time enemy David Stern, but I interpret the move as being petulant” (BOSTON.com, 6/13). SPORTING NEWS' Sean Deveney writes there is "probably no NBA owner more deserving of a championship than Cuban." He has "changed the way the NBA does business" (SPORTING NEWS TODAY, 6/14).
TIME TO PARTY: The N.Y. POST's Page Six reports Cuban spent $110,000 "in four hours celebrating at Club Liv at Miami's Fountainebleau" after Game Six. He spent "most of it on a $90,000 bottle of Ace of Spades Champagne" for several players, including F Dirk Nowitzki. Cuban left a $20,000 tip "for the wait staff" (N.Y. POST, 6/14).
On Long Island, Neil Best notes Yankees SS Derek Jeter will be the "first player to reach 3,000 hits since the resale ticket market achieved its current state of efficiency -- and legality -- and the big event has fueled a frenzy of educated guesstimating." FanSnap.com said that Jeter's two hits during Sunday's game against the Indians "caused asking prices for Thursday, the final game of the Yankees' home stand, to rise an average of $11 per ticket overnight, to $110." Prices for Thursday's Rangers-Yankees game "have doubled in recent weeks as fans have targeted it as their best hope for seeing Jeter reach his milestone at home." FanSnap Dir of Corporate Communications Christian Anderson said that the site "did not see a similar price spike last year" for Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez' chase for his 600th career home run (NEWSDAY, 6/14).
FOCUS ON THE FAMILY: Apollo Global Management Senior Managing Dir Joshua Harris is in talks to buy a controlling stake in the 76ers, and in Philadelphia, Bob Ford writes the team "could probably use some attention and renewed enthusiasm at the ownership level." Getting to the "next level in the NBA will require an unwavering focus that might not have always been present from above while the team was operating as just another charm on the jangly Comcast bracelet." On a "more local level, there was never the sense as they struggled" recently under Comcast-Spectacor Chair Ed Snider and President & COO Peter Luukko that the 76ers "were as much of a priority as were the Flyers." But that "should change under Harris," whose ownership group "won't have to worry, from a sports standpoint, about much more than the 76ers" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 6/14).
LEAVE US OUT OF THIS: NFL Giants coach Tom Coughlin said that the amicus brief filed last month by the NFLCA in support of the players' antitrust lawsuit against the league "did not represent the Giants' coaching staff." Coughlin said, "That did not speak for anybody I know. It did not speak for the Giants. No one was even apprised of something like this being stated, and there wouldn’t have been agreement" (NJ.com, 6/13).
WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION: In Charlotte, Laura Owens reports the NFL Panthers are sponsoring a "high school weight room makeover grant program in which four high schools will be given equipment the Panthers have been using for several years." Panthers Dir of Community Relations Riley Fields said, "The team is in the process of redoing the Panthers team weight room, which is going to include new equipment, so it provided an opportunity for us to do something special with the equipment that's going to be replaced. We thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to assist some deserving high schools in our region" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 6/14).