Oprah Winfrey and boxing mogul Floyd Mayweather Jr. are among those interested in bidding for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Winfrey, David Geffen and Larry Ellison are joining together to make a bid to buy the Clippers if the NBA’s board of governors votes to force Donald Sterling to sell the team, Geffen told ESPN on Wednesday.
Geffen said the Clippers would be run by him and Ellison, while Winfrey would be an investor.
“Oprah is not interested in running the team,” Geffen told ESPN. “She thinks it would be a great thing for an important black American to own (another) franchise.”
Geffen is a music and film mogul with a net worth that Forbes estimates at $6.2 billion. He reportedly tried to buy at least a controlling stake in the Clippers in 2010 for $600 million but was rebuffed by Sterling.
“I’m a fan. I bring something to the table, it’s fun and I can afford it,” Geffen said. “I live in L.A., that’s one thing that makes it attractive.”
Ellison is the CEO of Oracle, a business software and technology company.
Mayweather, the world’s highest-paid athlete, nets more than $70 million per fight. Retired boxer Oscar De La Hoya would also be interested, and former Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson, part of the ownership group of the Dodgers, is “mobilizing his group,” Yahoo Sports reported.
Sterling paid $12.5 million for the franchise, now valued between $700 million and $1 billion based on increasing revenues and a new media deal.
Mayweather knows Sterling and said his personal dealings with the owner, banned for life from the NBA on Tuesday, were much different than the audio recordings portrayed.
“I don’t have nothing negative to say about this guy,” Mayweather said. “He’s always treated me with the utmost respect.”
—Donald Sterling, an attorney who knows his way around a courtroom, said his franchise is not for sale.
The banished Los Angeles Clippers’ owner made the comments to Fox’s Jim Gray, an indication that a legal tug of war could be in the offing as the NBA digs in for a vote to force the sale of the team Sterling has owned for 33 years.
Within three days, NBA commissioner Adam Silver must provide a written copy of charges and intentions to Sterling. In turn, Sterling has five days to respond to the charges. No response is accepted as an admission of guilt.
Should Sterling respond personally or through legal conduits, the NBA Board of Governors must meet for an evidence hearing. Sterling’s entire reign in Los Angeles can be considered, not just the recently released audio conversation made public last week.
The NBA owners’ advisory and finance committee will hold a meeting Thursday to discuss the next steps in the removal of Sterling as owner.
The 10-member committee will have a conference call two days after Silver banned Sterling for life from the league and fined him $2.5 million for making racist comments.
Sterling, 81, paid $12.5 million for the team and moved it from San Diego to Los Angeles without permission of the NBA. He was fined, but took the NBA to court to get the fine amount reduced.
Upon a board vote, the NBA can take control of the team and begin seeking buyers.
Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive said Wednesday he anticipates that his fellow NBA owners will vote unanimously — 29-0 — to force Sterling to sell the Clippers.
Sterling’s legal recourse could be to challenge the NBA constitution and its specific application to his current ordeal.
Silver said he had “no idea” what the unapologetic Clippers owner might do in response but assured he was empowered by owners and the league’s constitution to act.
“Let’s just leave it that we have the authority to act as I’ve recommended,” Silver said.
—Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford won the NBA’s Sixth Man Award for the second time in his career, ESPN.com reported.
Sources told ESPN.com that Crawford was originally scheduled to have received the award at Staples Center on Tuesday night before the Clippers’ Game 5 victory over Golden State Warriors, but the ceremony was pushed back in the wake of the Donald Sterling scandal.
Crawford also won the award with the Atlanta Hawks in 2010. He is the fourth player to win it twice and the first to win with different teams.
Crawford led all sixth men in scoring this season by averaging 18.6 points a game.
—The NBA released the official list of 75 underclassmen and international players who filed to be early entry candidates in the 2014 NBA Draft.
The list includes one NBA developmental league player player. All prospects who do not sign with an agent are eligible to withdraw from consideration by Monday, June 16 at 5 p.m. ET by notifying NBA officials in writing of their decision.
Teams are permitted to begin contacting early entrant prospects to schedule workouts but contract-related discussions are prohibited.
The NBA draft combine is scheduled to be held in Chicago on May 15-16, where athletic testing and basketball drills are performed for scouts and evaluators. Many top prospects will decline full participation but are expected to be made available for private interviews.
The draft order will be determined via lottery Tuesday, May 20.
The first three picks in the Draft will be determined by the lottery and the remainder of the “lottery teams” will select in positions 4 through 14 in inverse order of their consolidated standings at the end of the regular season.
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