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Leonsis agrees on price for Wizards, Verizon Center

Business writer Thomas Heath reports that Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis and the estate of sports entrepreneur Abe Pollin have reached an agreement on a price for Leonsis to purchase the Washington Wizards and Verizon Center, overcoming the single biggest obstacle in his path to take ownership, according to several sources familiar with the negotiations. His complete story is here.

The entire value of the team and arena is pegged around $550 million, according to sources, though the exact cost to Leonsis's group is far less than that because it already owns 44 percent.

By Alexa Steele  |  March 25, 2010; 4:24 PM ET
 
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Comments

$550 million is much less than the number first tossed at Leonsis earlier this year. He was patient and got a much better price.

Posted by: Firuz1 | March 25, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

If Leonsis closes by June 1, his group would be able to make decisions on the NBA draft and free agency, both of which are critical to the team's success.

Really,

Don't tell Ernie that.


Posted by: bulletsfan78 | March 25, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

This is a lot more interesting than Andray Blatche.

Talk amongst yourselves.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 25, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Here's to hoping that Leonis can return some sanity to this organization.

I haven't commented on this Blatche/Saunders thing where somebody apparently flipped out. I just don't have a clue who it was, or who's version to beleive.

On the Gil thing, he deserves the three months jail time for trying to engineer a coverup. There needs to be a penalty for lying to investigators.

That still doesn't mean Gil's not going to be in a Wizards Uniform next year. Right now I'd say it's more likely then not, unless MR. Leonis wants to take his lumps and go in a completely different direction. And only he knows what he's thinking.

But at this point, I'm not sure he won't even fire Gee Wiz. There has always been tension in Verizon between the Caps management and the Wiz/Washington Sports side. Ted just might fire them all, change the name, the team colors,everything...

Posted by: flohrtv | March 25, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Glad this is finally settled.

This franchise has been known for having sub-par everything for awhile (training staff, GMs, coaches, scouting, facilities, players...).

Here's hoping a change at the top means there'll be change for the better at all levels of this team.

Posted by: manifested | March 25, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Way to go Ted. Now we will have a REAL NBA team.

Posted by: anacostia85 | March 25, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Best of luck to Ted with the Wiz going forward.

Great quote from Bob Knight (currently on 980 with Andy and Czabe)

"'Dumb' loses more games than 'smart' wins games"

Posted by: ts35 | March 25, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Great.

So how accurate is Ovechkin's jumper? Is he good from 20 feet out?

Posted by: SteveMG | March 25, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Thank god, some actual Wizards news.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 25, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Any word on the Arenas sentencing?

Posted by: Firuz1 | March 25, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

@ SteveMG

Can't be any worse than Stevenson's J, or lack of...

Posted by: -CN- | March 25, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Any word on the Arenas sentencing?

Posted by: Firuz1

----

Sentencing is Friday (tomorrow).

Posted by: nmik | March 25, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

SteveMG,
I knew that one was coming, in some form or another, and it still worked for me. Thanks for that.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | March 25, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

It'll be good to have the ownership issue settled. However, don't expect miracles from Leonsis. Next year is likely to be a very bad year too.

Posted by: PostSubscriber | March 25, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

"Glad this is finally settled."

It's not quite settled, although i don't expect Leonsis will have any trouble getting full approval from the NBA owners.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 25, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step"

This is a good first step.

Posted by: VBFan | March 25, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I'd said previously that Leonsis taking over might actually increased the odds of Grunfeld being retained, but that was before the most recent train wreck. The Blatche incident is troubling (beyond Blatche's infantile if unsurprising behavior) because, much as with Jordan and Arenas, Grunfeld didn't step up to back his coach during a dispute with a player. Which is a problem because, unlike Jordan, Saunders is Grunfeld's guy. Accountability starts at the top, and there doesn't appear to be any in the Wizards organization.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 25, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

"Grunfeld didn't step up to back his coach during a dispute with a player"


How do you know that? It's being reported Flip was told he could make the call, and he decided to start AB. If that's true, EG can hardly be blamed for Flip's lack of a spine.

I hope Leonsis' first move isnt to raise ticket prices, they've been cheap forever and should remain so until the team is legitimately competitive again.

Posted by: divi3 | March 25, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I knew that one was coming, in some form or another, and it still worked for me. Thanks for that.

Yeah, I'm not original but I'm fast.

As the saying goes, 95% of life is just showing up.

Posted by: SteveMG | March 25, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

great news

Posted by: dlts20 | March 25, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Finally. I am looking forward to an owner that appreciates international talent. Picking from a bigger pool of players can only help this team get better faster.

Posted by: djnnnou | March 25, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Finally. I am looking forward to an owner that appreciates international talent. Picking from a bigger pool of players can only help this team get better faster.

Posted by: djnnnou | March 25, 2010 5:52 PM


Ever heard of "Buckets" Pecherov or VroomVroom Veermeenko?

Posted by: Firuz1 | March 25, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Great stuff on the agreement finally. The $250 million in debt being carried puts the value of team right where the research that I was blogging from when folks was saying I was pulling numbers out of my....

The Forbe numbers and the NBA appraised value turns out to be accurate numbers and those are the numbers that I was citing when several bloggers indicated that I was blowin smoke.

You see this business transaction has always been high on my curiosity meter.

Besides the coaching, the players, the business deal has always been a juicer for me.

Big ups to Ted Leonsis and I hope everything finalizes before June 1st.

Any bets that a coach and/or GM change are in the works?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 25, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Leonisis started out being somewhat impatient, hence Jagir. When he saw his mistake he had no trouble eating two thirds of Jagir's Gilbert like contract while Jagir played with the Rangers. Uncle Ted (as he is now called by CAPS fans, SOB Ted pre Great 8) will listen carefully to advice and do what must be done. The games passed Abe by in the '80s and he never let anyone run the organization that understood the realities of the modern NBA. Ted will hire the best people and let them run the show. He is very good at hiring people.

Posted by: adhardwick | March 25, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

it's hard to hire a Dirk, Kobe,Labron or Dwight. You gotta get lucky in the draft or find a hidden overseas gem if you wanna be a contender.

Posted by: VBFan | March 25, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Ever heard of "Buckets" Pecherov or VroomVroom Veermeenko?

Do you have a point?

Posted by: djnnnou | March 25, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

is there any reason to assume Leonsis has ties with a better GM than Ernie? That while putting all his efforts into the Caps, he was also cultivating nba relationships?

dont be surprised if EG stays at least another year

Posted by: divi3 | March 25, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Well, there is a gun toting gem, that ain't been to bright and he might have to get locked up in a striped suit for a bit.

What about that gem. You think he might be worth another go round?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 25, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

dont be surprised if EG stays at least another year

Tom Penn is looking for a job, and even Pritchard has been rumored to be on his way out in Portland. There's a chance that Ernie could be replaced pretty easily this summer as long as Golden State doesn't get sold. But yeah, Ernie probably stays.

Posted by: djnnnou | March 25, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

What about that gem. You think he might be worth another go round?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 25, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

I sure hope not. I have incredible empathy for what he must be going through right now but do not want him back with this team. He absolutely kills ball movement, plays no defense and as noted is a well established head case...no thanks.

I don't ever want to watch Gil again stand at the top of the key, at the end of a quarter, watch the clock drop from 18 seconds to 4 seconds, then heave a 28 ft shot without ever having looked at anyone else. Oh, it was exciting the first 30-40 times....the last 250 times...not so much.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | March 25, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

What about that gem. You think he might be worth another go round?

LarryInClintonMD.
We've seen this. How'd that work for us??
I think he'll be back. Hopefully with a new attitude.
No matter how he comes back he needs a lot of help. He had it with CB,AJ & BH but that didn't work.
Keep the fingers crossed in the draft.
Maybe it's our turn.

Posted by: VBFan | March 25, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Do you have a point?

Posted by: djnnnou | March 25, 2010 6:23 PM

The Wizards have already been dipping into the international talent pool.

Posted by: Firuz1 | March 25, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

A lot of coaches like icing the end of games. I have never liked that strategy. I like going to the basket for the win with time left on the clock and extending the game if I don't score.

Even Gill at his best, that strategy still sucked with me too.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 25, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

McPhee, the Caps GM, was already on board when Ted bought the team. Yeah, he may give Ernie a year before making a decision on him.

Posted by: dcwizard | March 25, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Hallelujah. Seriously.

Posted by: Tank2 | March 25, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

"How do you know that? It's being reported Flip was told he could make the call . . ."

Exactly my point. By letting Saunders "make the call" Grunfeld was abdicating his organizational responsibility. IF he really had Saunders' back he would have stepped in and suspended Blatche, or at the very least spoken publicly in support of the coach's decision to sit him. Instead he basically hid from the whole thing.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 26, 2010 1:35 AM | Report abuse

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