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Owner Profiles: Pacific Division
Posted By Jason Fleming On July 13, 2011 @ 11:00 am In All,NBA | No Comments
With the lockout in full effect, we here at HOOPSWORLD are continuing our look at what comprises the “Owners” with a look at the Pacific Division. Who are the owners, where did they come from, and what have they done?
Also, while the NBA will debate the validity of these numbers, we will use the 2010 Forbes Magazine NBA valuations as a means of comparing the teams to each other. Forbes doesn’t claim these are 100% accurate – they are estimates – and they may not match an actual bottom line figure, but in the absence of having those figures the Forbes numbers are a starting point. Plus, the relative difference in the numbers between teams is still likely accurate.
Click here for the Northwest Division. The rest are still to come.
Golden State Warriors – Joe Lacob/Peter Guber
Ownership Group: GSW Sports LLC has seven board members - Lacob, Guber, Jerry West, Erika Glazer, Fred Harman, Vivek, Ranadive, and Bob Piccinini – plus other investors. Lacob handles most of the day-to-day operations.
Purchase Price (year): $450 million (2010)
2010 Forbes Valuation: $363 million
2010 Forbes Revenue: $119 million
Education: Lacob – Bachelor’s Degree from UC-Irvine, Master’s (Public Health) from UCLA, and MBA from Stanford University; Guber – Bachelor’s Degree from Syracuse University, JD from New York University.
Other Business Interests: Lacob is a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a venture capital firm (Al Gore also works there), and has been since 1987. He serves on the board of directors for Align Technology and Orixigen, both public companies, and a few more private companies. Lacob’s interest lie primarily in the life sciences, but has also been involved in internet entities and alternative energy. Before buying the Warriors he was a minority owner of the Boston Celtics.
Guber is chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group, which he formed after leaving Sony Pictures in 1995. The group includes Mandalay Pictures, Mandalay Vision, Mandalay Series Television, Mandalay Television Pictures, Mandalay Mosaic TV Group, and Mandalay Sports Entertainment, which owns and operates five minor league baseball teams. He’s produced at some level many hits, including Rain Man, The Color Purple, Batman, and Flashdance. Guber has also written a book, Tell to Win, about success, and is listed as a professor at UCLA on his website.
Notable Team Achievements: After getting approved by the NBA’s Board of Governors in November of 2010, the Warriors failed to make the playoffs in this group’s first season as owners.
Ownership Philosophy: Lacob wants to be involved. Since the deal to buy the team from Chris Cohan was agreed upon last summer, he was very much involved in the approval process to take on David Lee (and his contract), to replace legendary coach Don Nelson with Keith Smart, and then replace Smart with Mark Jackson last month. He also brought in the legendary Jerry West to help run the basketball side of things, showing he isn’t afraid to bring in help.
Los Angeles Clippers – Donald Sterling
Ownership Group: None
Purchase Price (year): $13 million (1981)
2010 Forbes Valuation: $305 million
2010 Forbes Revenue: $102 million
Education: Bachelor’s, Cal-State Los Angeles; JD, Southwestern University
Other Business Interests: Sterling made his money in real estate, starting with a Beverly Hills apartment building he bought in sixties. He now owns many buildings around Los Angeles, many in the poorer areas. Sterling has also spent a lot of time in court rooms under accusations ranging from racism and sexual harassment to housing discrimination. For more on Sterling’s history, check out this piece written by Peter Keating in ESPN The Magazine.
Notable Team Achievements: Since buying the team in 1981 the Clippers have made the playoffs just four times and making it past the first round just once. Three times they have earned the top overall pick in the draft (four if you count 2011, when the pick went to Cleveland).
Ownership Philosophy: Save money. Throughout his tenure as owner of the Clippers Sterling has widely been regarded as the most frugal of NBA owners, not giving contracts even when his own players are worthy (or his own management people, as evidence by the lawsuit filed by former GM Elgin Baylor). Given an ownership willing to spend money to run the team properly in the Los Angeles market, the organization probably would be more successful, but Sterling has shown no interest in selling.
Los Angeles Lakers – Dr. Jerry Buss
Ownership Group: None
Purchase Price (year): $20 million (1979)
2010 Forbes Valuation: $643 million
2010 Forbes Revenue: $214 million
Education: B.S., University of Wyoming; M.S., Ph.D, University of Southern California
Other Business Interests: Originally made his money in real estate, buying an apartment building in West L.A. in the sixties and going from there. Also bought the Los Angeles Kings (NHL) along with The Forum (and a ranch) in the same deal, but later sold the Kings in 1987. Also bought and sold the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, and owns the D-League’s Los Angeles D-Fenders.
Notable Team Achievements: The Lakers have won 10 NBA championships while Buss has owned the team and been home to some of the greatest names ever to play the game, including Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant. Six other times the Lakers have lost in the NBA finals, and twice more lost in the Western Conference Finals.
Ownership Philosophy: Spend money and put on a show. Because of the Lakers’ following all over the world and their ability to rake in dollars in Los Angeles, the value of the franchise and the income it generates allows Buss to go well beyond the salary cap in order to pay his players.
Phoenix Suns – Robert Sarver
Ownership Group: Sarver is the managing partner of a group of 15, including: Sid & Jenny Craig (yes, that Jenny Craig); Sam Garvin (Garvin Holdings LLC); Steve Hilton (Meritage Homes Corporation); Richard Heckmann (K2 Inc); Richard Jaffe (Safe Life Corp); Dale Jensen (Jackson Street Development); Steve Kerr (TNT); John Landon (Landon Development Company); Francis Najafi (Pivotal Group); Steven Pidgeon (Snell and Willmer); Don, Veronica and Tom Rogers and Carol Hudson (Rogers Real Estate Holdings); Byron Roth (Roth Capital Partners); Mark Schlossberg (Southwest Value Partners); Scott Seldin (Seldin Real Estate)
Purchase Price (year): $401 million (2004)
2010 Forbes Valuation: $411 million
2010 Forbes Revenue: $147 million
Education: Bachelor’s, University of Arizona
Other Business Interests: After college Sarver founded the National Bank of Arizona in 1984. He sold it to Zions Bancorporation. He is currently the CEO of Western Alliance Bancorporation and also the director of Meritage Homes Corporation and SkyWest, Inc., an airline. Sarver also owns the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury.
Notable Team Achievements: In Sarver’s seven years of ownership the Suns have made the playoffs five times, going all the way to the Western Conference Finals three times.
Ownership Philosophy: Sarver doesn’t get involved much in the day-to-day operations of the Suns, but he does keep close tabs on the money, even more so the last few years when the economy has been so bad for banking and real estate, where he made his money. Previously the Suns have sold off first-round draft picks for cash (including the picks that became Rudy Fernandez, Nate Robinson, and Rajon Rondo) rather than pay their rookie scale contracts, but recently that has stopped, coinciding with a downturn in the franchise’s success.
Sacramento Kings – Joe and Gavin Maloof
Ownership Group: Joe and Gavin get most of the press, but the family ownership group also consists of George Maloof, Jr., Phil Maloof, and Adrienne Maloof-Nassif, plus Robin E. Hernreich
Purchase Price (year): $250 million (1998)
2010 Forbes Valuation: $293 million
2010 Forbes Revenue: $103 million
Other Business Interests: The family patriarch, George, Sr., made his money in hotels, banking, and trucking. He also owned the Houston Rockets, but after his death legal issues forced the liquidation of assets, including the Rockets to Les Alexander. The family bought The Fiesta in Las Vegas, which they later sold for a huge profit they put into building the Palms hotel and casino, but they own only 2% of it now after a recent debt restructuring. The Maloofs have exclusive distribution rights in New Mexico to various beers, including Guinness, Coors, Miller, Corona, and others. They have interests in TV, movies, and music. Kings’ ownership has been fighting for a new stadium for a few years now and almost moved the team to Anaheim this past spring. Currently the team will be in Sacramento for next season, but the future is up in the air.
Notable Team Achievements: The Kings made the playoffs eight straight years from 1999-2006, reaching the Western Conference Finals once, but haven’t been back since.
Ownership Philosophy: The Maloofs have been very visible during their years as Kings’ owners, sitting courtside during the heyday with Chris Webber, Vlade Divac, Peja Stojakovic, and Mike Bibby, but hands off in their approach, leaving much of the everyday decision making to the front office. For the most part they have been reluctant to spend big money in free agency and the Kings will have the largest amount of salary cap space when the lockout is eventually over.
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