ESPN's Michelle Smith wrote an article today which stated that someone within the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers organization helped get a possible ownership group who would like to buy the Sparks and keep the team in Southern California in contact with the WNBA. The remainder of the article pretty much summed up Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob's interest in the team and passion for women's basketball in his radio interview yesterday on KNBR-AM.
But assuming that there is really an ownership group out there which would keep the team in LA, this changes the dynamics of the Sparks' future in the coming weeks.
First, this basically tells us that Joe Lacob and the Warriors are NOT the first choice for the WNBA, in particular for a franchise that is a perennial winner, and in a large market. Keeping the Sparks in LA is more desirable than moving them, at least in and of itself.
Second, based on what was in Smith's article, I would assume that the new Sparks owners would also be a non-NBA or NHL team owner. And the owners would likely be not unlike Paula Madison, meaning that they would be smaller owners based on wealth which would not significantly alter the demographics of the WNBA Board of Governors. While this isn't discussed in many outlets, we've mentioned that adding a 7th NBA team owner into a 12 team league can affect collective bargaining.
Third, the league may also be willing to wait longer than just a couple weeks to see this scenario materialize, even if this means that Lacob walks away from an opportunity to buy the Sparks today and relocate them to the Bay Area. So the WNBA is perhaps willing to go all in for keeping the Sparks in Los Angeles. But it is also willing to accept the consequences of the franchise folding if current talks fall through, or even soon after, if the new owners aren't capable of running shop long term, like Paula Madison was.
Certainly this saga isn't quite over yet.
(H/T to Shannon Cotterell who had the link first!)
Keep in the loop on this saga and Sparks Watch in our StoryStream!
- Video: Fred Williams' opening remarks as head coach of the Tulsa Shock
- Sparks Watch Day 23: Questions on the saga the day after Lacob's radio interview
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- Joe Lacob says that he is still interested in the Los Angeles Sparks in a radio interview
- Tulsa World: Fred Williams to be new Shock head coach