After months of behind the scenes maneuvering and weeks of intense speculation, today is finally the day: Herb Kohl is selling the Milwaukee Bucks.
As initially suggested by Bill Simmons two weeks ago, the New York-based duo of Marc Lasry and Wes Edens will buy the team at a record $550 million valuation, per reports by ESPN's Marc Stein.
ESPN has learned Bucks owner Herb Kohl will announce sale of the team later today to Wesley Edens & Marc Lasry for price of $550 milllion- Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) April 16, 2014
Kohl made keeping team in Milwaukee a condition of the sale to the hedge-fund billionaires, whose purchase now subject to league approval- Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) April 16, 2014
The Bucks have scheduled a 2:30 central time press conference to announce the deal, hours before they finish a franchise-worst 15-66 season against the Hawks. In other words, don't be surprised if Lasry and Edens are introduced to fans at the BMO Harris Bradley Center later tonight as well. Here's the short-by-sweet official statement announcing the presser:
At 2:30 p.m. today, Milwaukee Bucks President and Owner Herb Kohl will make a major announcement regarding ownership of the Milwaukee Bucks and the future of the franchise.
Simmons first reported that Lasry and Edens had almost finalized a deal 10 days ago, but it was apparently thrown in doubt late last week. Mitch Lawrence then suggested over the weekend that local investors had pulled ahead and were indeed finalizing a deal, but ultimately Simmons' original deal parameters--Lasry and Edens for $550 million--appear to have been correct. With the NBA's board of governors expected to discuss the deal on Thursday and Friday in New York, an official announcement was expected at some point this week, and presumably everyone wanted to get a deal wrapped up as soon as possible.
The big follow up question is how the Bucks' new owners will assure the team's long-term future in Milwaukee. Without a new arena in place by the end of the decade, no degree of Wisconsin-friendliness is likely to prevent the NBA from eventually forcing a move elsewhere.