The Milwaukee Bucks will enter the 2014-15 NBA season with a set of new owners at the helm. This comes after former U.S. Senator and owner Herb Kohl announced he had sold the team. Kohl sold the Bucks to a two-man ownership team that includes Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens in hopes of keeping the team in the city of Milwaukee for years to come.
Kohl, who purchased the team in 1985 for $18 million, was able to sell the franchise for $550 million. The Bucks, who have been in town since 1968, have been a staple of the community, and the sale will allow them to continue to be a driving force in the community. New owners Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens will put up $100 million towards a new multipurpose arena that will not only be the face of the team, but arguably the face of the city, as well.
Along with bringing a new arena to the city, the new owners have great visions for the team, one that includes a championship within the next five to ten seasons. As far as NBA experience, both have been on the record as fans of the game but no experience in the business. The positive note is both understand how to make money, as Edens cofounded the Fortress Investment Group that has over $61 billion in assets. His partner, Lasry, currently sits with over a billion dollars in net worth, making him one of the richest Americans.
Now you are wondering how this could be good for the team? The key component is the ability to spend money to make a contender. With no disrespect to the former owner, this team has lacked the ability to spend with the large market teams. The new ownership looks to have the resources available to bring back some of the history that includes players such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the big “O,” Oscar Robertson.
In the end, nothing about this sale is negative for the players, the community, or the city of Milwaukee. The one key stat to remember in this deal was the fact that Forbes had the team listed as the least valued team at $405 million. This new ownership made a huge statement, not only by showing they can spend $550 million, but that they are a team that is willing to contend in the near future.