Unlike the sale 3,000 miles away in the Bay Area, there are no real secrets about the sale of the Washington Wizards.
When owner Abe Pollin died it was already agreed his estate was going to try to sell the team and the building to Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis. Today they cleared one of the biggest hurdles, agreeing to a price — a cool $550 million, according to the Washington Post.
The sources cautioned that the deal could fall apart if the sides fail to reach agreement on other, non-financial issues such as the operations of the arena in the period before Leonsis takes control. But reaching a price was critical to clearing the way for Leonsis’s eventual ownership, sources said.
“The financial terms are tentatively agreed to,” said one high-level negotiator for the Pollin side, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of upsetting the talks. “In every complex legal agreement, there are significant non-financial terms. The parties are negotiating those in good faith. I certainly hope we will cross the finish line. But no guarantees.”
If this goes through, Leonsis will be one of the biggest power brokers in Washington sports. He will own the Wizards, the Capitals and the state-of-the-art building they play in (which also hosts some concerts and other events), as well as the WNBA’s Mystics.
Leonsis and Pollin had plans for this sale since Leonsis bought the Caps 11 years ago. That’s why he stuck with the Capitals despite a horrible revenue deal with the late Pollin — the Capitals saw no money from the luxury suits or club seats in the building. In modern hockey and basketball, those two areas along with sponsorships are the key economic drivers. Regular ticket sales matter, but suites are the backbone.
The second round was supposed to be when things got exciting. Instead, the San Antonio Spurs put on an absolute clinic at home, blowing out the Oklahoma City Thunder, 124-92 to take a 1-0 series lead.
Just about everything went in for San Antonio, particularly for LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, who combined for 63 points. How dominant were they?
Aldridge in particular got anything he wanted against the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s stars were quiet, with Kevin Durant scoring just 16 points and Russell Westbrook 14. San Antonio controlled the game from the start and Oklahoma City never recovered from the opening punch.
It’s hard to imagine Durant and Westbrook are this ineffective again, and hopefully the rest of this series will be a little more competitive. But the Spurs did what the Spurs do, and did nothing to shake the feeling that they’re the favorites to win the west, now that Stephen Curry‘s status is unknown.
ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.
Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.
Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.
The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.
Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.