Playoff roundtable: Who should be the next owner of the Los Angeles Clippers?
SI.com’s NBA writers debate the biggest playoff question of the day. Today, we examine …
Who do you want to see buy the Los Angeles Clippers?
Lee Jenkins: Magic Johnson. So many A-list names are being tossed around -- Oprah, David Geffen, Floyd Mayweather -- that Magic Johnson and Guggenheim Partners sound almost staid by comparison. But Magic and Guggenheim have already proven that they parachute into a Los Angeles franchise and immediately wipe away all evidence of miserable ownership. They did it with the Dodgers and Frank McCourt. They can do it with the Clippers and Donald Sterling. Guggenheim spends the money while Magic galvanizes the community. He restored the Dodger brand in less than a year and baseball isn't even his sport. A point guard triumvirate of Magic, Doc and Chris Paul would provide the Clippers with unmatched leadership in a turbulent time.
Chris Ballard: Bill Murray. Because that would be awesome. Of course that's not going to happen, but really just as long as someone not named Sterling owns the Clippers, and soon, I'll be happy. The great fear is that this will drag on through lawsuits or family transfers and we'll be stuck with Donald for years. The Geffen/Oprah/Ellison combo would be fine. Any qualified tech magnate who loves the game -- a Robert Pera type -- will do the trick. If the owner is either a minority or a woman, even better. Just as long as this happens, and happens soon.
Ben Golliver: Magic Johnson. After suffering through more than three decades of Sterling -- years that were often filled with losing and penny-pinching -- Clippers fans deserve an owner they can be proud of and who will be fully invested in keeping their current championship window open for as long as possible. I'm with those fans who brought signs that read "The Clippers need some Magic" to the Staples Center on Tuesday. Local icon? Check. Personable guy? Check. Competitive? You bet. Understanding of what it takes to win in the NBA? No question. Capable of bringing credibility and order to a franchise that desperately needs it? Yessir. What more could you want?
Phil Taylor: Elgin Baylor. Among the most shameful aspects of the NBA’s lack of action against Sterling over the years is the way the league ignored Baylor’s charges in his wrongful termination lawsuit against the Clipppers owner. Baylor, one of the greatest players in league history and a man with an unassailably honorable reputation, tried to warn the NBA about Sterling’s racist attitudes with the suit, accusing him of having “a vision of a Southern plantation-type structure.” But the league treated him as if he was some crackpot off the street, leaving Sterling untouched and Baylor unemployed. Even though he lost the lawsuit, the NBA owed it to Baylor to take his allegations of racism seriously. Maybe it’s more poetic than practical, but it would be the perfect apology if the league helped Baylor put together an ownership group to buy the team. He should be the one to kick the master off the plantation.
Matt Dollinger: Chris Hansen. How great of a gift to Seattle would the Clippers be after losing the Sonics and a chance to watch Kevin Durant in his prime? Los Angeles will never be a Clipper town as long as the Lakers are still in business. But in Seattle? Chris Paul and Blake Griffin would be lauded like legends. Jamal Crawford would have a cult following. And the NBA could bring back the Sonics and the Hornets in the same season! Hansen, who previously tried to buy the Kings and bring them to Seattle, already has approval for his arena plan in a Seattle neighborhood. All he needs is a team. As it turns out, there's one that might go on the market this summer and its current city has a team to spare. Let Hansen bring Lob City to the Emerald City.
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