According Bill Simmons of Grantland, Herb Kohl nearly agreed to sell the team to Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens.
As I tweeted last weekend, the Seattle guys (Steve Ballmer and Chris Hansen) aren’t getting the team — even though they were willing to go higher than anyone else, they dropped out because Herb Kohl (the longtime Bucks owner and a fearless champion of mediocre basketball) wouldn’t sell them the franchise unless they agreed to keep it in Milwaukee. The guys who thought they had it as recently as two days ago? Hedge-fund billionaires Marc Lasry and Wes Edens, who slid under the radar this entire time and thought they landed the Bucks with an offer in the $550 million range (slightly more than Vivek Ranadivé paid for the equally unappealing Kings). As recently as Wednesday, Lasry and Edens were expecting the NBA to vote on their bid at next week’s Board of Governors meeting.
So … what happened? Apparently there’s been a late flurry of offers from at least two other parties — not the Seattle guys — and now, incredibly, the price might be climbing and/or Kohl might be wavering to see if he should play this out longer.
This all sort of makes sense. Senator Kohl had said in recent weeks that “nothing has been finalized“, dropping a context clue from behind the scenes that — without giving details of the particulars — seemed to take observers all the way to one step short of the finish line. The NBA’s Board of Governors Meetings will be held April 17-18, and big steps in a number of recent NBA team sales (including the sales of the Nets and Kings) have taken place during such meetings.
And Kohl has a history of getting cold feet. So that part makes sense too. But massive kudos to Kohl for allegedly doing what he has insisted all along: selling the team only to parties who will keep the team in Milwaukee.