Last weekend, Bill Simmons posted a tweet saying that a sale of the Milwaukee Bucks was imminent, and that it would not be to a group from Seattle. Today on his website, he clarified those comments.
"The Seattle guys (Steve Ballmer and Chris Hansen) aren't getting the team - even though they were willing to go higher than anyone else, they dropped out because Herb Kohl (the longtime Bucks owner and a fearless champion of mediocre basketball) wouldn't sell them the franchise unless they agreed to keep it in Milwaukee," according to Simmons.
So who will be buying them? "The guys who thought they had it as recently as two days ago? Hedge-fund billionaires Marc Lasry and Wes Edens, who slid under the radar this entire time and thought they landed the Bucks with an offer in the $550 million range (slightly more than Vivek Ranadivé paid for the equally unappealing Kings). As recently as Wednesday, Lasry and Edens were expecting the NBA to vote on their bid at next week's Board of Governors meeting."
Why is that all in past tense, you may be asking? Well... "Apparently there's been a late flurry of offers from at least two other parties - not the Seattle guys - and now, incredibly, the price might be climbing and/or Kohl might be wavering to see if he should play this out longer." Of course he is. It was nice of Simmons reiterate that it will not be the Seattle guys who wind up with the team.
The ownership of the team is still only one part of the Milwaukee dilemma, as an arena still needs to be built by 2017 to keep the team there. As Simmons puts it, "What promises will be made to Adam Silver, who has demanded a new arena in Milwaukee by 2017 at the latest ... or else?" The new owners may wind up being paper champions in the long run, but a fresh face (and more pocketbooks) could be the shot in the arm that the Bucks need to get a deal done. For now, it seems that Hansen and the rest of his group have backed off any pursuit of the Bucks. As for the next step for us, and Milwaukee, only time will tell.