The Golden State Warriors and the NBA are hoping to have the Bay Area team into a new owner's hands by the end of the summer, according to multiple sources.
One source said the target date is early- to mid-August so that any new owner can execute the necessary changes for the 2010-11 season to avoid a lame-duck year.
The last thing the NBA wants is to have a meaningless first season of ownership for whomever buys the team from
To that end, commissioner
The recent sale of the Charlotte Bobcats from BET founder
If Oracle CEO
According to a source, Cohan has already received 10 legitimate inquiries about purchasing the Warriors -- one of which was from Asia -- though none have made an official bid. The official offering is set to be released in about a week, and official bids will be accepted in mid- to late April.
Another name that has been floating around as a possible bidder is
Anschutz -- a Lakers part-owner who would have to divest his shares of that team in order to purchase the Warriors -- could get involved, however, if the new owner decides that he wants to build a new arena, moving from Oracle Arena in Oakland. There has been a great deal of speculation that a new sports and entertainment complex could be built across the Bay where there's currently a parking lot next to the San Francisco Giants' stadium.
In addition to the Staples Center, Anschutz has stakes in London's O2 Arena, as well as multiple Major League Soccer teams and the NHL's Los Angeles Kings. Partnering with the Warriors' new owner makes sense, one source said. Of course, the league and Bay Area fans are hoping Ellison, the world's sixth-wealthiest person with a
There is concern within the organization, though, that Ellison may have been turned off by Cohan's recent power play and may not want to be put into the position of being in a bidding war.
Two months after Ellison told Oracle shareholders that he was trying to buy the Warriors, Cohan put the team on the open market. There is a feeling within the organization that Cohan may have been better served to approach Ellison privately and try to broker a private sale rather than staking Ellison against the rest of the world.
Cohan is hoping, of course, that Ellison makes a preemptive bid, distancing himself from everyone before the bidding even gets started, which would make the sale process go that much more quickly.
The timing of the sale is key for both Cohan, who purchased the team for $119 million in 1995, and the team's immediate future. If it leaks into 2011, Cohan will be responsible for some $20 million more in capital gains taxes because of changes made by the Obama administration. (According to reports, in 2007, the IRS said Cohan owed the government more than $160 million in back income taxes and penalties.)
For the team, general manager
If a new owner is able to take control by August, he will almost certainly organize his own staff between the time he submits the winning bid and the time he is approved. An August approval would give the new staff a month and a half to get things in order by the start of an October training camp.
If the sale goes later than August, it would be difficult to put in place all the necessary pieces to make wholesale changes.
The clock is ticking. And everyone, especially the new owner, knows it.