Source: Lasry to sell Bucks to Haslams for $3.5B

Milwaukee Bucks owner Marc Lasry has reached an agreement to sell his Bucks shares to Cleveland Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam for $3.5 billion, sources told ESPN.

The deal, which sources said is still pending league approval, would be the second-highest value ever for an NBA team, behind only the Phoenix Suns’ $4 billion acquisition of Matt Ishbia from Robert Sarver that was completed earlier this year. the month It would also be the third-highest cap hit by any American professional team, trailing the $4.65 billion spent by the Denver Broncos last June.

The sale of the Bucks is just the latest in a series of price hikes for NBA teams in recent years. Before Ishbia’s purchase, the previous record was Joe Tsai buying the Brooklyn Nets for $2.3 billion in 2019. Tilman Fertitta later spent $2.2 billion on the Houston Rockets in 2017, and Steve Ballmer paid $1 billion. 2 to buy the LA Clippers in 2014. .

Also in 2014, Lasry bought the Bucks, along with New York hedge fund Wes Edens, for $550 million from longtime US Senator Herb Kohl. Since then, the Bucks – after two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo – have been one of the top franchises in the NBA, with the fifth-most wins in the NBA during this period, and they claim the championship 2021 NBA – the franchise’s second overall, and first in 50 years.

Lasry and Edens also led the construction of the Fiserv Forum, the downtown arena where the Bucks play, which opened in 2018, along with Deer County. Lasry also plans to keep his stake in Milwaukee after the sale, the sources said.

Milwaukee has also been willing to push well into the luxury tax in recent years to maintain a competitive streak. The Bucks are projected to pay more than $70 million in luxury taxes this season, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks, after adding Jae Crowder to their roster at the trade deadline earlier this month. Only the Golden State Warriors and Clippers are slated to pay more.

The Bucks will have more financial decisions to make in the coming months, with franchise tentpoles Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez both able to hit free agency this summer — Middleton has a player option for next season — and Jrue Holiday potentially being able to hit free agency. in the summer of 2024.

As he finalizes the sale of his Bucks unit, sources said Lasry is in talks to create an investment fund within his existing investment firm, Avenue Capital. Lasry was an early investor in Major League Pickleball – which has a list of owners including LeBron James and Kevin Durant, among others – and is interested in the possibility of buying teams, games, media rights and land, said the sources, behind his back. winning run in Milwaukee.

The Haslams, who built their fortune through the Pilot Flying J truck stop chain, have embarked on a new path of sports ownership. They bought the Browns from Randy Lerner for a few billion dollars in 2012, and bought the Columbus Crew MLS franchise in 2019.

Milwaukee sits one behind the Boston Celtics for the NBA’s best record and has won a league-leading 14 games in a row. The Bucks next play Tuesday night in Brooklyn against the Nets.

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