JS | Walker: New Bucks owners say 5 to 10 others could join investor team
Wes Edens and Marc Lasry were men about town in Milwaukee on Thursday, touring breweries, appearing on the radio (WKLH audio here), meeting the press, playing P-I-G with Chris Wright (careful Chris, your contract is non-guaranteed), and wrapping up the night by watching the Spurs/Thunder game at McGillycuddy's with fans. Hit up the Bucks' Instagram for photos from the day and check out the Milwaukee Business Journal's recap of the fan event here.
Along the way they also stopped by the Bucks' practice facilities (Bucks.com video here) and hinted at significant progress on the local investor front, telling reporters that five or more additional investors could be brought on with a number of them currently in the process of vetting by the NBA.
Edens said there was a range of ownership percentage among the investors. "Some are more meaningful," Edens said. "But I think what's meaningful is the local content and the local perspective of what is important and what works out here."
While no names have emerged, sources say former Bucks star Junior Bridgeman, a successful businessman in the fast-food franchise business, and Ted Kellner, a prominent benefactor to University of Wisconsin-Madison sports and a Milwaukee businessman, are possibilities as Bucks investors. Craig Leipold, a Racine resident who owns the Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League, said last year he might be willing to be a minority investor in the team.
In the interview, Lasry and Edens did not back away from their commitment to try to jump-start the process of getting a new sports arena built in Milwaukee.
Among the other big names who might have a Bucks role in the future?
Lasry on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar joining Bucks ownership group: "I think he wants to get involved."— Gery Woelfel (@GeryWoelfel) May 29, 2014
And in case you weren't able to make it to last night's event, here are some more photos from the night courtesy of the Bucks, our own Eric Buenning and Save Our Bucks' Paul Henning:
Marc and @AlexanderLasry chat with bloggers @ericbuenning and @mitchvomhof pic.twitter.com/OF6ej2QIqR— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) May 30, 2014
NEW PARENTS pic.twitter.com/DoaJaRV7zR— Eric Buenning (@ericbuenning) May 30, 2014
Welcome to Milwaukee Marc Lasry & Wes Edens. Thank you for Saving Our Bucks! @bucks @SaveOurBuckspic.twitter.com/gOKqw1wGF7— Paul Henning (@brewcitypaul) May 30, 2014
"We love Milwaukee and we love the @bucks that's why we bought them" -Lasry @SaveOurBuckspic.twitter.com/5dm7CypfL6— Paul Henning (@brewcitypaul) May 30, 2014
JS | Wolfley: Junior Bridgeman open to the idea of joining with new Bucks owners
Bridgeman has long been a popular name linked with a potential stake in the team, and with good reason: he's one of the league's most successful former players off the court, his retired #2 hangs in the BC rafters, and he's already been involved in ownership as a minority investor with the Kings. He also appeared on Milwaukee radio earlier this week as part of a MACC Fund campaign, deflecting suggestions that he had sought a stake in the team before Lasry and Edens while leaving open the possibility of joining them soon:
"Well, no I wasn't because that would have not been too ethical," Bridgeman said, referring to his stake in the Kings. "But now that it's done, we may take a look at things and see if it makes sense to maybe get out of one deal and into another deal.
"I'm happy that the guys bought it," Bridgeman said. "I have met them and talked to them. I think they are great people. They are all about whatever they can do to have a winning team. So we'll see. You never know."
Don't ask me why Bridgeman's small interest in the Kings would have made a Bucks investment "unethical" a few months ago and totally fine now, especially considering that Lasry also had a stake in the Nets at the time that he was bidding for the Bucks. But whatever. While guys like Mark Attanasio, Jon Hammes and Ted Kellner would also be great additions to the ownership suite, Bridgeman's background as a player and off-the-court success story would make him a terrific addition--and hopefully one we'll hear more about soon.