Ah Snap! Magic Johnson & the Guggenheim Partners Want To Buy The Clippers!

LOL! Was this all a set up so Magic could buy the Clippers. He &  his Guggenheim Partners have been trying to buy the Lakers for sometime now, but the Buss family has made it very clear that the team is NOT for sale.

Was this a dirty publicity stunt to buy out Sterling? Dun dun dun…we shall see how this plays out.

Yahoo! Sports reports — For all these despicable revelations tumbling out of the hateful heart of Donald Sterling, there promises construction of a roadmap to redemption for the Los Angeles Clippers and the NBA. There’s a way out for the most hated man in Los Angeles now, a way out for the commissioner’s office and the owners responsible for long legitimizing and harboring a bigot and slumlord.

Magic Johnson and his billionaire backers, the Guggenheim Partners, want a chance to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers, league sources told Yahoo Sports. “Magic’s absolutely interested,” one source closely connected to Johnson’s business interests told Yahoo Sports on Sunday night.

To bail themselves out of the NBA’s worst crisis of credibility since the Tim Donaghy officiating scandal, the easy part for the NBA will be enlisting the eagerness and financial muscle of Magic Johnson and Mark Walter of the Guggenheim Partners – owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

For commissioner Adam Silver, the chance to turn the Clippers over to Magic Johnson and his partners is the best possible of solutions. Exit Sterling, enter Magic. It would be the greatest trade in sports ownership history since, well, Magic for the McCourts, with the Dodgers.

Magic Johnson is the ultimate cleanser in sports, and steering a Clippers sale to him could be transformative for the franchise. Truth be told, it could change the balance of basketball power in Los Angeles forever. To keep Doc Rivers as president and coach, to hold together the core of a championship contender and keep building it, Magic can make it happen.

Make no mistake: Magic’s Dodgers group is angling for a Southern California sports empire. Magic Johnson and Guggenheim had been aggressive in pursuing a purchase of the Los Angeles Lakers – only to have the Buss family make clear to them the franchise isn’t for sale, sources told Yahoo Sports.

 Nevertheless, this is business and Magic’s willing to change colors and make himself a Clipper. Between the Dodgers and Clippers, Magic Johnson could be the face of two championship contenders.

Magic could have it all.

“This is 100 percent Magic’s plan,” a league official intimately involved in the buying and selling of franchises told Yahoo Sports.

As an exit strategy, Sterling could walk away with a $1 billion-plus sales price for his franchise, and a final act of goodwill to soften his exile into the sports netherworld. Sterling will be reviled forever, but he has to understand clearing the way for Magic Johnson and the $200 billion-plus group backing him could be a decent farewell punctuating a most indecent ownership tenure. Sterling made Magic Johnson a part of those hideous audio tapes that have started to crumble his Clippers ownership, and here’s the old man’s way to make it right.

After all, he has little choice left. Sterling will never be able to sit courtside for a Clippers game again, never be able to march through his locker room glad-handing players. All the reasons Sterling has loved owning an NBA team, well, they’re all gone.

Across the league now, owners want Sterling out. They should’ve done so years ago, but understand every franchise will now pay a price for failing to remove Sterling. Finally, they’re pushing Silver to find a way. These owners are on the clock, and they know it.

“If the owners can’t force [Sterling] to sell, they need to be held accountable to change the bylaws so they can,” one member of the NBA’s Board of Governors told Yahoo Sports on Sunday. “A fine and suspension is meaningless, and that’ll be seen as a lack of acceptance that the league and owners are responsible for this ass—-.”

 The Dodgers group is serious about owning an NBA team, and the league knows it. Together, they arranged for Johnson and the Guggenheim Partners to purchase the WNBA’s cash-strapped Los Angeles Sparks in February. The league office needed someone to spare it the embarrassment of the WNBA’s flagship franchise folding, and Magic and Guggenheim bailed it out. This hadn’t been born out of a sense of benevolence, but rather a pragmatic move to deeper ingratiate themselves with the NBA.

So Sunday, Johnson goes on national television and tells everyone: Donald Sterling should lose the Clippers. He’s right. The NBA will move to suspend Sterling in the short-term and turn its army of lawyers onto a way to force Sterling into a sale. Magic Johnson could always see the court, the next play, and it’s unfolding now. It won’t be easy. It won’t be tidy.

For now, it’s the ultimate escape plan for the NBA, the ultimate exit for Donald Sterling. Magic Johnson wants the Clippers, and it could change Los Angeles basketball – change the NBA – forever.

SPORTS: Former Laker Orlando Woolridge Dies At 52

So sad, he was still young. My condolences go out to his family & friends. May you Rest In Peace ORLANDO!!!

In this file photo, Magic Johnson #32 of the Los Angeles Lakers stands next to Orlando Woolridge #0 during an NBA game at the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles, California in 1988. Woolridge died May 31, 2012 of a chronic heart condition at 52.                                                                (Photo by Mike Powell/Getty Images)

Daily News reports — MANSFIELD, La. – Former NBA standout Orlando Woolridge has died at his parents’ home in Mansfield, La. He was 52.

DeSoto Parish Chief Deputy Coroner Billy Locke said the former Lakers player and Sparks head coach died Thursday night. He had been under hospice care for a chronic heart condition.

Woolridge was a first-round draft pick of the Chicago Bulls in 1981 and played in the NBA for 13 years. He was a star at Mansfield High School before going on to play for Notre Dame, where he was a second-team All-American as a senior.

Drafted sixth overall in the 1981 draft, he spent his first five seasons with the Bulls and averaged 22.9 points per game during Michael Jordan’s first season in 1984-85.

After Woolridge joined the New Jersey Nets and was suspended by the league for violation of the league substance abuse policy in 1987, he signed with the Lakers in 1988. As a role player, the 6-foot-9 power forward provided offensive firepower and size off the bench. His 55.6% field goal percentage during the 1989-90 season was fifth in the NBA.

In the summer of 1990, Woolridge was traded to Denver for two second-round draft picks. He also played for Detroit (1991-93), Milwaukee (1993) and Philadelphia (1993-94) before playing two seasons in Italy

He later coached the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, taking over for Julie Rousseau in 1998 and splitting the team’s last 10 games. In 1999, the Sparks went 20-12 and made their first trip to the WNBA playoffs, winning the Western Conference semifinal before falling to the two-time defending champion Houston Comets in the conference final.

Woolridge’s son Renaldo carried on the family name in area hoops, starring at Harvard-Westlake as a two-time Mission League MVP and all-state honoree. At 6-foot-9 like his father, Renaldo Woolridge averaged 23 points and 11 rebounds as a senior.

Renaldo Woolridge played at Tennessee but has transferred to USC, where he will play as a senior next season

Sports: Magic Johnson’s Group Wins Bid For Dodgers At $2 Billion

When I saw this last night, I was beyond excited!!! If you grew up in LA then you know how HUGE this is, for LA. Magic Johnson, is the MAN for pulling this off, I cannot imagine what a great feeling it must have been for him. GO DODGERS!!! All time Laker great, Magic Johnson, is exactly what the DODGERS needed…I bet everybody & they mama are screaming GO DOYERS!!! haha

LA Times reports — Go ahead, Los Angeles, dig out that dusty Dodgers cap and unwrinkle that Dodger Stadium seating chart and shout yourself blue again. Go ahead, it’s safe now, after two years in hell your city’s most enduring sports team has just been placed in the giant hands of its most enduring sports star.

A group headed by Magic Johnson has just purchased the Dodgers from Frank McCourt for $2 billion, ending a prolonged nightmare with a soaring slam dunk.

Mark Walter, chief executive of the $126-billion Guggenheim Partners financial company based in Chicago, will be the controlling owner of a group that will be led by Johnson and directed by longtime respected baseball executive Stan Kasten.

McCourt sold the Dodgers to Johnson’s group Tuesday just five hours after Major League Baseball approved three finalists for an auction. As I wrote in a column that appeared on the Internet an hour before the news broke, Johnson’s group was the obvious and best choice over out-of-town billionaires Steve Cohen and Stan Kroenke.

After successfully boycotting Dodger Stadium enough to convince MLB to run McCourt out of town, Dodgers fans are distrusting and disillusioned, and Johnson’s group is the only one with the credibility to quickly bring them back.

Johnson, whose business acumen equals his former Lakers court sense, will become a full-time team executive with an office in Dodger Stadium and a giant welcoming reach that will stretch to every corner of the disaffected Dodgers nation. Kasten, a traditional baseball guy who built the perennially contending Atlanta Braves from scratch and help shape the surging Washington Nationals, was interested in the Dodgers before McCourt bought the team in 2004 and has long held a dream of restoring them to greatness.

When I interviewed Johnson in December when The Times broke the news of his decision to pursue the team, he said, “The Dodgers are my next big thing. This is not just millions of my money, this is dear to my heart. This is bringing back the brand for the people of Los Angeles.”

At the time, Johnson said his goal would be to bring the Dodgers back to the popularity level currently enjoyed by his former team.

“When I first got to town [in 1979], the Dodgers were on Page 1 of the L.A. Times and the Lakers were on Page 3,” Johnson said. “I’ve seen how the Dodgers can be as big as the Lakers, and I want that to happen again.”

We know little about Walter and the Guggenheim folks, who will fund their majority contribution from out-of-state insurance companes, but we know that they have convinced Johnson and Kasten that it’s not about real estate or television, but baseball.

In that same December interview, Johnson said he auditioned six prospective bidders before deciding on the Guggenheim group for winning reasons.

“The first thing I asked Walter was, ‘Do you want to win, and do you want to put money in?” Johnson said at the time. “He said, ‘Absolutely.'”

Johnson said the future Dodgers owner says the things you hear from championship owners.

“Listening to Walter talk about winning, it was like listening to Jerry Buss,” Johnson said. “He told me three times, ‘All I want to do is get to the World Series.’ I know great owners, and this guy can be a great owner.”

Of course, once the initial love fest ends, the tough stuff begins.

The new owners know that Dodgers fans are not a bunch of poor saps on a deserted beach standing around an “SOS” rock formation and waiting desperately for the first ship to save them. They know that Dodgers fans are, instead, huddled and hidden in a clump of trees in the middle of the island, defiant, distrustful, and willing to remain out of sight until somebody shows up with enough smarts and savvy and charm to coax them back home.

Two billion dollars will buy the new owners no love or respect or even 30,000 folks on a school night in September. Two billion dollars will only buy them two billion questions from the toughest crowd they’ve ever faced.

Those hundreds of thousands of Dodgers fans who abandoned Chavez Ravine will need more than simple answers. They will need action, they will need explanation, they will need a group that can proactively reestablish the bonds of this city’s most enduring yet most abused connection with a sports franchise.

In my opinion, they needed Magic.

On Tuesday night, they got him, and the fastbreak is on.

Magic Johnson, Laker Legend, Entered Bidding War To Buy Dodgers!!!

I sure hope this happens, I will watch baseball again if it does!!!

LA Times reports — Johnson announced Friday that he had joined forces with Guggenheim Baseball Management, an arm of a financial services firm that controls more than $125 billion in assets, in hopes of buying the Dodgers.

With Johnson serving as the point man for a group that will be backed by the prestigious Guggenheim brand and led by respected veteran baseball executive Stan Kasten, it’s a potential dream team.

The complete list of bidders hasn’t emerged, but at this early point it would be difficult to find a group with a stronger combination of deep pockets, a deep Los Angeles connection, and deep affection for the Dodgers.

“I am so hyped, I’m ready to start right now,” said Johnson in a phone interview Friday morning. “The Dodgers have been so important to this community for so many years, for so many reasons. I’ve lived through it all like everyone else and I want to make them great again.”

Johnson is that rare former sports star whose business acumen has matched his athleticism. Since retiring from the Lakers in 1996, he has made millions in investments that have focused on rebuilding inner cities. His substantial portfolio includes Starbucks franchises and movie theaters and a piece of the Lakers, which he recently sold.

“The Dodgers are my next big thing,” Johnson said. “This is not just millions of my money, this is dear to my heart. This is bringing back the brand for the people of Los Angeles.” Johnson said his investment is based on memories from 30 years ago, when the Dodgers were bigger than even his beloved Lakers.

“When I first got to town, the Dodgers were on Page One of the L.A. Times and the Lakers were on Page Three,” Johnson said. “I’ve seen how the Dodgers can be as big as the Lakers, and I want that to happen again.”

In searching for the right fit for his Dodger dreams, Johnson researched six prospective Dodger bidders, then interviewed each of them, beginning each session with one question.

“I asked them, ‘What is your play here; do you want this team for the baseball or the real estate?”’ Johnson recalled. “I wasn’t interested in anybody who wasn’t going to make baseball the priority.”

If they answered the first question correctly, Johnson asked them a second question.

“I would then ask them, ‘OK, once you buy it, do you have enough money to turn them into champions?”’ Johnson said. “There are groups that will spend everything just to buy the team, and I didn’t want that.”

When Johnson met Mark Walter, Guggenheim’s CEO, he was convinced. “The first thing I asked Walter was, ‘Do you want to win, and do you want to put money in?”’ Johnson said. “He said, ‘Absolutely.”’

Johnson said the interview with Walter reminded him of discussions with another owner. “Listening to Walter talk about winning, it was like listening to Jerry Buss,” Johnson said. “He told me three times, all I want to do is get to the World Series. I know great owners, and this guy can be a great owner.”

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