There was a given going into the sale of the Warriors — if he wanted the team, Silicon Valley mogul Larry Ellison could win the auction. Easy. You know how rich Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is? Trail Blazer owner Paul Allen (he of the ground floor of Microsoft)? Ellison is worth more than both of them combined.
And it was assumed Larry Ellison wanted the Warriors, he had expressed interest before.
“We heard all that too, and we even thought that,” Lacob admitted, laughing. “I remember Peter and I talking about this during the process. We said, ‘We can’t really worry about him. We just have to do what we think is right. We have to do our homework, we have to bid at the appropriate time, we have to bid the right amount, we have to do our due diligence properly, and we just stay in the game because you never know what’s going to happen….”
“The truth is, in the end, who’s to say why. Larry could have had the team probably at any time by just writing a bigger check. And he certainly could afford to do that. I really don’t know why he didn’t do that. Maybe it’s one of these things where you just don’t think the other guys are real in a bidding process. We were a little bit under the radar. We just stayed in there and did our thing. I guess the one thing I would say is that when it came down to it and we knew we had it, or were very close to having it, we did do one thing that was rather unusual. We signed a letter of intent. Then it usually takes a couple months to do what’s called a complete purchase-and-sale agreement. We went and did that in a period of about 72 hours. Completely. Nonstop. Without sleeping. With our lawyers. We knew that they, or he, or whoever – we didn’t know who the competitor was – would try to come in over the top at the end. It’s an auction process. We just said, ‘We’re going to be done before they ever get there.’
Ellison did try to come in with a bigger offer after the bidding process ended, but that didn’t work. Selling owner Chris Cohan stuck with his process. And there you go.
We don’t know how good Lacob and Guber will turn out to be as owners. Better than Cohan, one could hope (one playoff appearance in 16 years). Owners who stuck with a plan and beat the big gun out sound like just the perfect guys to take over in the Bay Area.
Report: Seattle hosting Kings-Warriors preseason game
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he’d be surprised if Kawhi Leonard played again this season, a stark reversal from just a month ago. Back then, even while announcing Leonard was out indefinitely with a quad injury, the San Antonio coach said Leonard wouldn’t miss the rest of the season.
After spending 10 days before the All-Star break in New York consulting with a specialist to gather a second opinion on his right quad injury, All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard bears the burden of determining when he’s prepared to play again, sources told ESPN.
Leonard has been medically cleared to return from the right quad tendinopathy injury, but since shutting down a nine-game return to the Spurs that ended Jan. 13, he has elected against returning to the active roster, sources said.
The uncertainty surrounding this season — and Leonard’s future which could include free agency in the summer of 2019 — has inspired a palpable stress around the organization, league sources said.
At first glance, this sounds like Derrick Rose five years ago. Even after he was cleared to play following a torn ACL, the then-Bulls star remained mysterious about when he’d suit up. His confidence in his physical abilities seemed to be a major issue, and he was never the same player since (suffering more leg injuries).
But the Spurs famously favor resting players to preserve long-term health. They seem unlikely to rush back Leonard. They might even sit players who want to play more often. And Leonard isn’t Rose.
Still, it’s clear something is amiss in San Antonio. Maybe not amiss enough to end Leonard’s tenure there, but the longer this lingers, the more time for tension to percolate.
Report: Dennis Smith Jr. planned to have J. Cole dunk in dunk-contest routine
The dunk-contest scoring system – five judges ranking dunks on a scale of 6-10 – is plenty flawed. There should have been a larger difference between the Smith and Victor Oladipo dunks the Dallas point guard mentioned. But Oladipo didn’t advance, either. Personally, I thought the right two players – eventual-winner Donovan Mitchell and runner-up Larry Nance Jr. – advanced.
Maybe Smith was more upset about the missed opportunity – dunks (plural!) involving rapper J. Cole.
If Dennis had made it to the finals, Cole was going to throw him the alley-oop. But then the plan was, he was going to throw him the oop, Dennis would dunk it, and then Cole would catch the ball, and then he’d dunk it too. That was going to be the ill, craziest dunk-contest use of a prop or a person ever. But we never got to saw it, because they were holding out until the final round. They didn’t want to bring it out in the first round.
This certainly would have been unprecedented and cool. But unless Smith had something amazing planned for the alley-oop, the best element would have been Cole dunking. That would have upstaged Smith, who’s presumably the one being judged.
For what it’s worth, Cole can dunk. We’ve seen it in the celebrity game:
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich says he’d be surprised if Kawhi Leonard returns this season
The Spurs (35-24) are third in the West despite Leonard playing just nine games. Popovich has done a great job (maybe Coach of the Year-worthy). LaMarcus Aldridge is having a bounce-back season in a leading role. Pau Gasol leads a supporting cast of players good in their roles.
But San Antonio’s ceiling is so much lower without Leonard.
He’s an elite defender who shuts down opposing scorers on the perimeter and can comfortably switch inside. He can isolate offensively to score efficiently, and he spaces the floor off the ball with strong 3-point shooting. Those are all skills that translate to the playoffs.
Without him, the Spurs rely too heavily on older, slower defenders. That’s ripe to be exploited in the postseason.
Teams might even jockey to match up with San Antonio – the most vulnerable-appearing Western Conference team in line to get home-court advantage in the first round.
Of course, this doesn’t eliminate the possibility of Leonard returning. Popovich could just be trying to shut down speculation. He clearly doesn’t like discussing this issue.
But the Spurs are the most cautious team on injuries. If Leonard risks further injury, they’ll keep him sidelined.
This injury has already caused tension. This won’t help.