Bob Johnson and Houston's George Postolos continue negotiations on a deal that could shift control of the Charlotte Bobcats, multiple sources told the Observer Monday.
Whether a deal is imminent is anyone's guess.
Johnson, who owns about 70 percent of the franchise, put the team up for sale months ago. Postolos, formerly president of the Houston Rockets, has assembled a group of investors. It's unclear whether other bidders are still pursuing a purchase.
In the meantime, many of the team's financial decisions – both large and small – have been put on hold. Sources inside and outside the franchise anticipate the ownership question being resolved in the next two weeks.
Johnson has been in Europe on vacation of late, and is expected in Charlotte sometime this week. Some within the franchise see that as a sign a deal will soon close.
That's no given. While there's no doubt Johnson intends to sell the team – he's losing millions annually – the challenge has been setting a price Johnson will accept. He initially paid a $300 million expansion fee to the NBA, and financed $30 million in start-up capital.
The team is heavily in debt – in excess of $100 million – and any buyer would have to take on that burden as part of the purchase.
One source with knowledge of the situation anticipated a sale weeks ago, right after the team traded Emeka Okafor to the New Orleans Hornets for Tyson Chandler. That deal trimmed about $40 million off the Bobcats' long-term payroll and, the source confirmed, was intended to clean up the franchise's balance sheet in anticipation of a sale.
Johnson has told his minority partners to anticipate tens of millions in losses over the next two years. The team has instituted financial restraints that cancelled a summer-league team and will keep training camp in Charlotte, rather than leaving town for UNC Wilmington.
The team has made no free-agent signings this summer, despite a hole at backup power forward. Starting point guard Raymond Felton, a restricted free agent, remains unsigned.
It's unclear how a sale might change the current front office. Michael Jordan, a minority owner, has control of basketball operations. Jordan hired general manager Rod Higgins and head coach Larry Brown. Brown might be the team's top asset, after making a run at the playoffs the second half of last season.
This is basically some bullshit. I don't mean bullshit in terms of this article being false or misleading but bullshit because this just really fucking sucks. I apologize for the harsh language in our respectable forum. This just really pisses me off.
We're trying to "unload" player’s contracts and more than likely if at all possible, take on as little new contracts as possible; squeezing by with just enough to keep our team still somewhat marketable in hopes that someone will be willing to take the plunge and see potential in this franchise. I really thought we had something special going on here.
I understand the team is not making bank right now. It's hard to do that without a winning franchise. We were getting there though! We were on the brink of probably making the post season next year, and while this wouldn't double the team's value or anything, it would surely have us going in the right direction! With all this "team for sale! team for sale!" drama going on, I think it will mentally derail our franchise. It will impact the management / coaching staffs, players and of course the loyal fans who dearly love our Bobcats.
It's not like this just came all of a sudden and hit us like a Mack Truck, but it still pisses me off nonetheless. We had terrible ownership with the Hornets... some damn loyal fans sticking it out until the very end, but ownership (can't remember the owner's names) were just in it for the business aspects and nothing more whatsoever. Where's the pride in ownership these days?! I'm not a huge fan of guys like Cuban, media whores etc. but damn we need someone who really gives a damn and who's not just in it looking at a net profit.
I still think this franchise could be highly profitable if we're marketed correctly and we assembled the right pieces. The whole "draft only ACC guys" was the biggest joke. It failed, big time. NBA fans are a different breed of fans for the most part than college fans. NBA fans want NBA talented players!!! Not every ACC star who enters the league and flops!
Alright that's the end of my rant. Thanks for posting rufus. I think I've been mind-raped.
Last edited by Pain of Thought : 08-19-2009 at 10:58 AM.
Johnson might pull team off the market
How's this for a new twist to the story that never ends: Now I'm hearing Bob Johnson might take the Charlotte Bobcats off the market.
I don't think a final decision has been made, but it sounds like Johnson has misgivings, either about whether to sell or what he's been offered. So it's possible he'll still own controlling interest when the season starts this fall.
I think this might have something to do with Iverson.
I was actually thinking the exact same thing. If we get Iverson, I would assume our profits would increase (at least for the year) so Johnson might want to wait a year before selling now.
If what Iverson says is true about staying in shape and feeling great, we would be a great team next year. I figure he'll keep a positive attitude with LB around, and we have some passionate players as well (felton, gerald, chandler)
PoT, the fact that the team is for sale doesn't mean that the team is moving. The NBA isn't necessarily the kind of business where that is the case. In common business, if a franchise is for sale, it is highly likely that the new management transforms the acquisition into it's brand...for example, Rite Aid Pharmacy bought out Eckerd Pharmacy, who had previously bought out Kerr Drug. Rite Aid immediately turned all of the old Eckerd stores into Rite Aid's - the Bobcats, whether owned by Johnson or someone else, will remain the Charlotte Bobcats.
If anything, having new ownership, or the idea of having it, would energize this team rather than demoralize it. No one likes Bob Johnson and I don't know of anyone (other than you apparently) that doesn't want to see this get done.
I think that I understand PoT's concern that a possible sale will cause the FO to act in ways that could move the team further away from a playoff seed rather than closer to the playoffs. There really are at least two diverging interests: Act in ways that will make it faster to unload the team at the expense of the quality of players or Act in ways that will be best for the team/fans and hope that the team's value will increase and interest a buyer who wants a thriving team rather than just a financial steal. And I'm sure that there are even more ways of looking at the situation.