With Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling's racist remarks coming to light over the weekend, the emphasis has now shifted to "what's next" for the controversial owner and his distracted franchise.
One of the biggest discussions has centered around the future of the Clippers and whether the NBA and commissioner Adam Silver will force Sterling to sell that franchise. In that vein, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports is reporting Lakers legend Magic Johnson and his ownership group are interested in buying the team if Sterling is forced (or chooses) to sell:
Magic Johnson and his billionaire backers, the Guggenheim Partners, want a chance to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers, league sources told Yahoo Sports. "Magic's absolutely interested," one source closely connected to Johnson's business interests told Yahoo Sports on Sunday night.
In addition to the news that Johnson could have interest, Wojnarowski sheds a bit of light on the logistics of a potential sale:
"This is 100 percent Magic's plan," a league official intimately involved in the buying and selling of franchises told Yahoo Sports.
As an exit strategy, Sterling could walk away with a $1 billion-plus sales price for his franchise, and a final act of goodwill to soften his exile into the sports netherworld. Sterling will be reviled forever, but he has to understand clearing the way for Magic Johnson and the $200 billion-plus group backing him could be a decent farewell punctuating a most indecent ownership tenure. Sterling made Magic Johnson a part of those hideous audio tapes that have started to crumble his Clippers ownership, and here's the old man's way to make it right.
As referenced above, Magic is currently part of the ownership group of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have become significant spenders since being taken over in 2013, as evidenced by their payroll exceeding $230 million for the 2014 MLB season.
Johnson's name first entered the swirl of the Sterling scandal when his name came up in the recorded conversation between the owner and his girlfriend. After hearing Sterling's racist remarks on the tape, Magic declared that Sterling "shouldn't be an owner anymore" and vowed to never attend another Clippers game as long as he ran the team.