Jimmy Haslam

Bucks Notes: Giannis, Thanasis, Griffin, Ownership

Although Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo just inked a lucrative contract extension, Milwaukee is still under pressure to deliver a title soon, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic.

The All-NBA forward’s fresh three-season extension, which could be worth up to $186.6MM, will keep him under team control through at least the 2026/27 season. Newly-added All-NBA point guard Damian Lillard has a $63.2MM player option for that year. Antetokounmpo, meanwhile, has a player option for 2027/28.

Nehm notes that team president Jon Horst clearly is striving to deliver Antetokounmpo his second title with the Bucks, pointing to the trade for Lillard as proof that the front office is taking an aggressive team-building approach.

There’s more out of Milwaukee:

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo credits big brother Thanasis Antetokounmpo, a reserve forward on Milwaukee, with helping to convince him to sign an extension this offseason, Nehm adds (Twitter link). “For me, signing is basically, as I said earlier, it wouldn’t make sense for me to sign it, but then I had a conversation with my family, a.k.a. GM TA [Thanasis], that it would make more sense for me to sign because I’d be able to — first of all, you don’t know what tomorrow holds — but that I’d have eligibility to re-sign in 2026,” Giannis said. “So I just kind of trust his thinking.”
  • First-year Bucks head coach Adrian Griffin recently unpacked his revamped approach to the club’s defense during an interview with Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Griffin singles out ball pressure, paint protection with lots of help defense, contesting shots, and defensive rebounding as his key tenets.
  • New Bucks co-owners Jimmy Haslam and Dee Haslam hope to help give the Bucks enough support to win more championships, Owczarski writes in a separate piece. “That desire to win is not just for us, although we’re incredibly competitive, but we also recognize how important it is for these communities to have a winning team,” Dee said. “That gets us excited to be part of that story.”

Bucks Notes: Haslam, Lopez, Depth, Giannis, Matthews

Before buying a stake in the franchise, Jimmy Haslam first spoke to Bucks co-owner Wes Edens when he was mulling the possibility of bidding for the Timberwolves, according to Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“We actually took a look at the Minnesota Timberwolves and a friend of mine said, ‘You should call Wes Edens, he operates a team in the upper Midwest, they’ve had great success,'” Haslam said. “‘Cause you’re concerned, can you attract players, can you win in a small market? So we had about an hour-and-a-half conversation and Wes was hugely helpful.”

While Haslam didn’t end up investing in the Timberwolves, his conversation with Edens made him more comfortable jumping at the chance to purchase a stake in the Bucks when the opportunity arose. Asked for his thoughts about the future of the team in Milwaukee, Haslam expressed confidence in the Bucks’ long-term outlook.

“The first time Wes and I ever talked was (asking) could an NBA team not just reside here, but could it be successful? And they’ve obviously proved they can,” Haslam said. “They’ve punched way over their weight in almost everything in the NBA, starting first of all on the court, which is what counts. I anticipate the team being here for a long time. Listen, this isn’t a turnaround situation. These guys have done a hell of a job, so we’re gonna be quiet and listen and learn, and if we can help down the road, that’s great.”

Here’s more on the Bucks:

  • Brook Lopez made an All-Star team back in 2013 but has never played in the Olympics and fell just short of earning his first Defensive Player of the Year award this spring. Although he’d like to earn more accolades before he calls it a career, Lopez says he’s motivated by missing out, per Lori Nickel of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I use all that stuff,” he said. “I’d like to be a part of an Olympic team. I still feel like I have a long career left. Hopefully playing the way I play, maybe a couple of all-stars? I have my personal goals, but the way things roll out, it’s definitely motivation for me.”
  • Without Giannis Antetokounmpo available in Game 2 due to his lower back contusion, the Bucks showed off their depth and proved that they’re capable of holding down the fort until the MVP finalist returns, writes Jamal Collier of ESPN.com. Pat Connaughton was one of the role players who provided a critical spark for the team, Owczarski writes for The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  • Will Antetokounmpo be able to return for Game 3 in Miami? That’s still to be determined, as the star forward has been listed as questionable for Saturday’s contest. Giannis did some individual work on Friday, but didn’t take part in practice with his teammates, per Owczarski.
  • Wesley Matthews, who played nearly 18 minutes in Game 1 of the series and then missed Game 2 with a right calf strain, has been ruled out for Game 3 as well. A source with knowledge of the situation tells Owczarski that the Bucks are hopeful Matthews’ strain isn’t as severe as the one that sidelined him for nine games in February and March.

Haslam Completes Purchase Of Lasry’s Stake In Bucks

1:34pm: In a press release formally announcing the sale of Lasry’s stake to Haslam, the Bucks clarified that Edens will be the team’s governor for the next five years.

10:24am: The Haslam Sports Group has closed its purchase of Lasry’s stake in the Bucks, a source with knowledge of the situation tells Eben Novy-Williams of Sportico (subscription required). That source says the deal values the Bucks at closer to $3.2 billion than the previously reported $3.5 billion figure.

10:17am: Jimmy Haslam, Dee Haslam, and their Haslam Sports Group will officially become part of the Bucks‘ ownership group on Friday, according to Shams Charania and Eric Nehm of The Athletic, who report that the Haslams are set to complete his purchase of Marc Lasry‘s stake in the franchise.

Lasry agreed in February to sell his share of the team at a $3.5 billion valuation to the Haslams, who are also the controlling owners of the Cleveland Browns (NFL) and the Columbus Crew (MLS). Lasry reportedly owned about 25% of the Bucks, which would put the Haslams’ investment in the range of $875MM.

Scott Soshnick of Sportico reported (via Twitter) a couple weeks ago that the sale agreement had been approved by the NBA’s Board of Governors.

Prior to cashing out, Lasry shared the Bucks’ controlling owner responsibilities with Wes Edens. When they bought the franchise in 2014, they agreed to serve alternating five-year terms as the primary governor — Edens assumed that role from 2014-19 and Lasry took it over in 2019. Speaking at the NFL owners’ meetings in Arizona last month, Jimmy Haslam stated that Edens would reclaim that role while Haslam learns the ropes of NBA ownership.

The Haslams’ purchase of Lasry’s stake in the Bucks won’t have the same sort of immediate impact that Mat Ishbia‘s purchase of the Suns did in February. Ishbia signed off on a trade for Kevin Durant within days of taking control of the team, but if Milwaukee enjoys a deep playoff run, it will still be at least a month or two before the club is even permitted to make its next roster move.

Still, as Nehm observes in The Athletic’s report, it will be interesting to see what sort of effect – if any – the new co-owner’s involvement has on the Bucks’ financial and personnel decisions this summer and beyond. The ownership group has become increasingly willing in recent years to pay sizable luxury tax bills with the Bucks in perennial contention for championships.

Next year’s tax bill could be the team’s biggest yet if key free agents like Brook Lopez, Jae Crowder, and Joe Ingles are retained. Khris Middleton and Jevon Carter also hold player options for 2023/24.

Central Notes: Haslam, Hield, Omoruyi, Bulls

Appearing at the NFL owners’ meetings in Arizona this week, Jimmy Haslam spoke publicly for the first time about his impeding purchase of Marc Lasry‘s stake in the Bucks, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Because the sale hasn’t been officially finalized, Haslam declined to get into specifics, but he did tell reporters that Bucks co-owner Wes Edens would reclaim his role as the team’s governor while the Haslams learn the ropes of NBA ownership. Under the previous agreement, Edens and Lasry traded the governor title every five years — Edens held it from 2014-19.

Haslam, the owner of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns along with his wife Dee, described his purchase of a stake in the Bucks as “opportunistic,” Owczarski relays.

“I mean listen, we never thought we’d own 10% of the Steelers. Never thought we’d own the Browns. Dee and I had never been, beside watching (daughter) Whitney play high school soccer, had never been to a soccer game,” said Haslam, who also owns the Columbus Crew (MLS). “So it’s just opportunistic. It was straightened set of circumstances; we were called on this opportunity. Business, sports, you tend to be optimistic. I have no idea what will happen next. First thing’s first, let’s get this done and then let’s get the Browns winning games.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Pacers sharpshooter Buddy Hield was sidelined for Monday’s game due to a non-COVID illness, marking just the fourth time since he entered the NBA in 2016 that he has missed a game, writes Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. Hield started Indiana’s first 73 games this season, but has come off the bench since then so that the team can get a look at different lineup combinations, with an eye toward next season, tweets Agness.
  • According to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link), Eugene Omoruyi‘s new contract with the Pistons covers two seasons — it’s guaranteed for the rest of 2022/23, with a team option for ’23/24. In order to give Omoruyi more than the prorated minimum for the rest of this season, Detroit used a portion of its room exception to complete the signing, Hoops Rumors has learned. Instead of the $169,445 he would’ve gotten on a minimum-salary deal, the 26-year-old received $269,445 for ’22/23.
  • With the Trail Blazers set to miss the postseason again, the Bulls won’t get the lottery-protected first-round pick owed to them by Portland this season, and Chicago’s own top-four protected first-rounder appears ticketed for Orlando. However, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago wonders if the Bulls could end up with a first-rounder in 2023 by negotiating a trade with the Blazers, who are on track to receive the Knicks’ first-round pick. As Johnson observes, Portland may want to reacquire its own first-rounder, which remains lottery-protected through 2028, in order to regain flexibility for future trades.

Central Notes: Bulls, Cavaliers, Mitchell, Bucks

The Bulls entered a road back-to-back on a two-game winning streak. They’re still very much in the play-in tournament hunt and coach Billy Donovan said there’s been no discussion about going into tank mode to improve their draft status, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.

“I’ve never had a situation from ownership, front office, that said, ‘Listen, we’ve got an opportunity to potentially manipulate or get a higher draft pick. Let’s sit these guys. Let’s play the younger guys and give them an opportunity.’ That’s never taken place,” the Bulls head coach said. “So. I respect that and appreciate that, because I do think that when you line up and play there’s an integrity, and even to the fans, you’re out there trying to win.’’

We have more Central Division news:

  • Ricky Rubio and Caris LeVert are the only Cavaliers reserves who can count on a rotation spot during the postseason, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Coach J.B. Bickerstaff anticipates an eight- or nine-man rotation and those last two spots could be in flux. “Eight, nine will probably be the most,” Bickerstaff said. “It could depend on our opponent and what we need in the moment. Four of the five starters I think are going to end up playing heavy minutes.”
  • Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell had 35 points as the team snapped a three-game losing streak by pounding Toronto on Sunday. Mitchell and Bickerstaff had a meeting prior to the game in which the coach implored his star shooting guard to set the tone, Fedor writes. “When a coach and you have that talk, you kind of have to go out there and get to it,” Mitchell said.
  • The impending transfer of ownership in the Bucks’ franchise won’t have a financial impact on the team this season, according to Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. However, new owner Jimmy Haslam could be on the hook for part of this season’s luxury tax bill if the transfer occurs before the end of the league’s awards season.

Marc Lasry To Sell Stake In Bucks To Haslam Sports Group

Marc Lasry has reached an agreement to sell his stake in the Bucks to Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and his Haslam Sports Group, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. The sale agreement will value the Bucks at $3.5 billion.

Milwaukee’s $3.5 billion valuation is second only to the $4 billion purchase price that Mat Ishbia paid for the Suns, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter link). He notes that it’s also the third-highest ever for a U.S. sports franchise, also trailing the price paid for the Denver Broncos last year.

Lasry owns about 25% of the Bucks and shares controlling owner responsibilities with Wes Edens. Since buying the franchise in 2014, they have served alternating five-year terms as the primary owner. Lasry has been in that role since 2019. His interest in selling was first reported in December, and he talked to Ishbia about buying the team before he purchased the Suns.

Haslam, 68, had considered buying a stake in hte Bucks for several months and had several meetings with the parties involved before a deal was reached, according to Charania. Sources tell Charania that Haslam will continue to seek sports-related business opportunities and may consider buying a professional team in another league.

The Bucks became one of the NBA’s best teams under Lasry and Edens, capturing the second championship in franchise history in 2021. The owners also opened the Fiserv Forum in 2018, which led to a thriving business area around it known as the Deer District.

Haslam and his wife Dee are the controlling owners of the Browns and the Columbus Crew of the MLS. He is the chairman of the Pilot Flying J truck stop chain.

Jimmy Haslam In Talks To Buy Marc Lasry’s Share Of Bucks

Jimmy Haslam and his Haslam Sports Group are in advanced talks to buy Marc Lasry‘s stake in the Bucks, people familiar with the negotiations tell Eben Novy-Williams of Sportico.

Haslam, the chairman of the Pilot Flying J truck stop chain, and his wife Dee are the controlling owners of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns and the Columbus Crew of the MLS. According to Novy-Williams, the Haslams are interested in expanding their professional sports portfolio and previously expressed interest in buying the Timberwolves.

Lasry, who owns about 25% of the Bucks, shares controlling owner responsibilities with fellow co-owner Wes Edens. The two co-owners have had an agreement since buying the franchise in 2014 to alternate five-year stints as the primary owner. Edens was in that role from 2014-19 and Lasry has occupied it since 2019, so he has about another year-and-a-half before handing it back to Edens.

Reports in December indicated that Lasry was mulling selling his stake in the team and had spoken to Mat Ishbia about a possible deal before Ishbia reached an agreement to buy the Suns. The Haslam Sports Group has been in talks with Lasry for the last few months, Novy-Williams writes, though he cautions there’s no guarantee a deal will be completed.

The Suns’ sale to Ishbia has led to speculation that we could see more NBA franchises – or minority stakes – change hands in the near future. The Suns were valued at $4 billion in that sale agreement, well above the $2.7 billion estimate Forbes published in the fall. With a new media rights deal around the corner and the possibility of expansion looming, the prices of NBA teams appear to be on the rise, which could make it a good time for current majority and minority stakeholders to cash out.

Forbes valued the Bucks at $2.3 billion in October, but presumably Lasry would be able to secure a higher valuation if he were to sell his portion of the team. He and Edens – along with a handful of minority investors, including Jamie Dinan – purchased the club from Herb Kohl for a reported sale price of $550MM in 2014.

Northwest Notes: Paul, Jazz, Donovan, Wolves

Thunder star Chris Paul accelerated the team’s rebuild this season by exceeding expectations on and off the court, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports writes.

Paul, 35, embraced his role as a leader upon being traded from the Rockets last summer, taking young players such as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander under his wing and holding each of his teammates accountable to the fullest extent — much like Jimmy Butler has done with the Heat in the Eastern Conference.

“When I’m in, I’m in,” Paul said. “Y’all thought I was going to ask out or something. No, I liked the direction of the organization and I believe I can play a part in elevating this team. When I step on the court, I feel like I can compete with anybody and I wanted them to feel that way too.”

The Thunder finished with a 44-28 regular-season record, taking the Rockets to seven games before losing 104-102 in the final contest. Paul finished with a triple-double, recording 19 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists.

“We didn’t give a damn about anybody’s prediction going into any series. In any game, we expected to win,” Paul said after Game 7, as relayed by Haynes. “That’s how we played all season long, every game. We fought hard all year.”

Paul remains under contract for next season, with a $44.2MM player option in 2021/22, after playing a key role in the Thunder’s success this year. The team has multiple rotation players set to reach free agency, however, including starting forward Danilo Gallinari.

There’s more from the Northwest Division tonight:

  • The Jazz‘s painful first-round defeat to the Nuggets won’t shake the team’s core confidence, Tony Jones of The Athletic details. Utah lost a hard-fought seven-game series to Denver, coming up short without one of their best scorers in Bojan Bogdanovic (20.2 PPG; season-ending wrist surgery). “We went from being an ‘unsalvageable’ team three months ago to this, and I don’t think anybody outside of us expected that,” Donovan Mitchell said. “I’m happy with the way we played, obviously not the result. Look man, like, we’ve got things that we know we can fix and like I said, we felt like we kind of gave (away) situations when we had control of the series and we let it get out of hand. … With Bojan coming back, not putting everything on Bojan, but with him coming back it’s another weapon. This won’t happen again.”
  • Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman ponders whether Billy Donovan wants to stick around as head coach of the Thunder for the future. Donovan’s contract with the franchise is set to expire, with the veteran coach coming off a successful season with the team this season. Thunder general manager Sam Presti has previously made it clear that he hopes to have Donovan return, though that decision will ultimately be his to make.
  • Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam purchasing the Timberwolves would be redundant, Zach Harper of The Athletic opines. A recent report from Sportico indicated that Haslam was considering an offer for the Wolves, a team that’s attracted multiple interested bidders to date.

Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam Exploring Bid For Timberwolves

Jimmy Haslam, the owner of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, is the latest potential buyer to explore a bid for the Timberwolves, according to Scott Soshnick of Sportico.

When we last checked in on the possibility of a Timberwolves sale, former Grizzlies minority shareholder Daniel Straus was said to be in advanced discussions about a potential purchase. However, while The Straus Group did enter into exclusive talks to buy the Wolves, no agreement was reached by the time that window expired, according to Soshnick.

That doesn’t mean that Straus is out of the mix as a potential buyer — Soshnick hears that he remains in talks to potentially purchase the franchise. However, it does open the door for other bidders, such as Haslam, to enter the picture.

Haslam is the CEO of truck stop company Pilot Flying J. Multiple top executives of the company committed multi-million dollar fraud and were sentenced to jail time, but Haslam wasn’t charged as a result of that investigation and has denied any wrongdoing, Soshnick notes. Forbes estimates that the Browns owner is worth about $2.9 billion.

Haslam’s résumé as an NFL team owner likely won’t inspire much enthusiasm among Timberwolves fans — in seven full seasons since he assumed control of the Browns, the team has an overall record of 28-83-1, with no winning seasons and an 0-16 campaign (in 2017).

At least one previous report has indicated that current Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is seeking an amount in the $1.2 billion range for the franchise. His WNBA club, the Minnesota Lynx, is expected to be part of any sale as well.