NBA officially approves sale of Bucks to Edens, Lasry
MAY 15, 2014 7:05p ET
The Milwaukee Bucks are officially under new ownership, as the NBA’s Board of Governors unanimously approved the sale of the team Thursday from Herb Kohl to Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry.
Lasry and Edens, New York-based hedge fund billionaires, agreed to purchase the franchise from Kohl for $550 million on April 16. It took nearly a month for the deal to become official, but the Bucks now are no longer under the control of Kohl for the first time in 29 years.
"We are pleased that Wes Edens and Marc Lasry have been approved as the new owners of the Milwaukee Bucks," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. "The Bucks and their fans will benefit greatly from their vast business experience, energy and strong commitment to Milwaukee. I would like to thank Senator Kohl again for his unprecedented and historic financial gift toward the construction of a new Milwaukee arena and for his outstanding service to the league and his community over his nearly 30-year tenure."
Now that the sale has been approved, Lasry and Edens can begin to put their stamp on the organization. The futures of general manager John Hammond and head coach Larry Drew must be decided, as both have two years remaining on their contracts.
Hired this past summer, Drew went 15-67 in his first season as coach of the Bucks. His job status will likely depend on if Lasry and Edens decide to keep Hammond on board or look for a fresh start in the personnel department.
The new era in franchise history begins just in time for the draft lottery, set to take place Tuesday night. Milwaukee holds the highest odds to land the top pick and can't fall lower than fourth in the draft order.
If Lasry and Edens make a change at general manger, the expectation would be that the move happens quickly with so much riding on Milwaukee's upcoming draft pick. The draft combine is currently taking place this week in Chicago, while the draft is on June 26. That doesn't leave much time for a potential new regime to come in and make their evaluations.
Forbes estimated Lasry to be worth $1.7 billion in 2014, while the publication estimated Edens' net worth at $1.2 billion in 2008.
Lasry is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Avenue Capital Group, a global investment firm with more than $13 billion of assets under management. Born in Morocco, the 53-year-old came to the United States as a child.
Edens, 52, is a principal founder and co-chairman of the board of directors of Fortress Investment Group LLC. Founded in 1998, Fortress is a $62 billion alternative asset management company with offices around the world. Edens runs the private equity business side of Fortress.
Kohl purchased the team on March 1, 1985 from Jim Fitzgerald for $18 million. The Bucks made the playoffs in 14 of the 29 years Kohl owned the team but only made it out of the first round four times and just once since 1989.
The Bucks finished a franchise-worst 15-67 this past season and are looking at the sale of the team as the first step in a fresh start for the organization.
It's evident a new arena needs to be built in the coming years in order to keep the Bucks in town. Lasry and Edens have pledged $100 million toward a potential arena, while Kohl said he will give a $100 million gift toward a new building.
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