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Celtics minority partner buys Warriors for record $450M

OAKLAND, Calif. » Golden State Warriors owner Chris Cohan reached an agreement yesterday to sell the franchise for a record $450 million to Boston Celtics minority partner Joe Lacob and Mandalay Entertainment CEO Peter Guber.

"I am incredibly excited to have the opportunity to be the next steward of this storied NBA franchise. This is my dream come true," said Lacob, who is also the managing partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. "Peter and I intend to do what we do best — innovating and building. It is our passion to return the Warriors to greatness and build nothing short of a championship organization that will make all of us in the Bay Area proud."

Lacob and Guber beat out Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who had been considered the favorite to buy the team from Cohan. Ellison has a personal fortune of $28 billion, according to an annual survey by Forbes magazine, and is the sixth-richest man in the world.

He had been courted by Warriors fans at a game earlier this year to buy the struggling franchise, which has made the playoffs only once in the past 16 seasons. Ellison said in a statement that he was surprised he did not win because he made the biggest offer.

"Although I was the highest bidder, Chris Cohan decided to sell to someone else," he said. "In my experience this is a bit unusual. Nonetheless, I wish the Warriors and their fans nothing but success under their new ownership."

The bid from Lacob and Guber broke the record for the largest sale in league history, topping the $401 million Robert Sarver paid to buy the Phoenix Suns in 2004.

The deal still needs to be approved by three-quarters of the NBA Board of Governors. Lacob also must sell his interest in the Celtics.

Lacob, who has been a season-ticket holder for the Warriors, was part of the ownership group with the Celtics when they won their 17th championship two years ago. He has also been involved in sports websites and was the primary investor in the women’s American Basketball League.

Guber is a producer who helped bring movies such as "Rain Man," "Batman," "Flashdance" and "The Color Purple" to the screen. In 1995, he founded the Mandalay Entertainment Group with partner Paul Schaeffer, who will also be an owner of the team. Mandalay has financed, produced and distributed numerous motion pictures, including "Donnie Brasco," "Enemy at the Gates," and "Seven Years in Tibet."

Carter stays with Nuggets

Former University of Hawaii star Anthony Carter signed a one-year veteran’s-minimum deal to stay with the Denver Nuggets, who also signed forward/center Shelden Williams.

Carter will make $1.352 million and Williams about $915,000 in 2010-11.

Carter, who has played his last four seasons in Denver, averaged 3.3 points and 3.0 rebounds in 54 games last season, spelling Chauncey Billups and Ty Lawson.

Williams, a 6-foot-9 250-pounder, played sparingly for Boston last season, averaging 3.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 11 minutes.

Jazz bring back Raja Bell

Raja Bell and the Utah Jazz agreed to a three-year deal worth around $10 million, according to Bell’s agent, Herb Rudoy.

The 33-year-old shooting guard just needs to pass a physical, which probably won’t happen until next week.

Bell had standout seasons with the Jazz between 2003 and 2005.

The return of Bell indicates the Jazz won’t be matching Portland’s front-loaded offer for restricted free agent Wesley Matthews, who made Utah’s roster in training camp as an undrafted free agent and was a starter before the end of his rookie season.

Nets sign first-round picks

First-round draft picks Derrick Favors and Damion James have signed with the New Jersey Nets.

Favors, a Georgia Tech forward and third pick overall, will earn a total of $8.57 million in his first two seasons. James, a small forward from Texas who was picked 24th, will earn a total of $2.39 million in his first two seasons.


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