Reports: Browns owner Haslam agrees to buy 25% stake in Bucks

Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns
Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns

Jimmy and Dee Haslam — the Haslam Sports Group, if you prefer — are about to buy a finished product, as much as any professional sports team is. The Milwaukee Bucks already have a new arena generating income, and on the court have the best player walking the face of the earth leading a title contender.

Haslem is about to buy a 25% stake in the Bucks from Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry, according to reports from Tim Bontemps of ESPN and Shams Charania of The Athletic. The team is valued at $3.5 billion for the sale, the second highest price ever for a team at sale (the Phoenix Suns were recently valued at $4 billion for its sale). That would put Haslem’s out-of-pocket cost at $875 million.

This sale still needs to be approved by the other league owners, although that is likely. Haslem also owns the NFL’s Cleveland Browns and the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer.

Haslem bought into this team knowing he would be shelling out some money in luxury tax to keep this team a contender — the Bucks are expected to have a $76 million luxury tax bill on top of their $178.2 million in payroll (the third-highest tax paid by a team this season, behind the Clippers and Warriors). There has been no balking by ownership to pay to keep the Bucks a contender — they have won 14 straight games as of this writing. It will get more expensive to keep this core together after this season with Brook Lopez a free agent (and going to get a raise from his $13.9 million) and Khris Middleton having a player option and likely looking for more years. Jrue Holiday has a player option in 2024.

It will be a nice profit for Lasry, who along with fellow New York investment firm executive Wesley Edens, bought the Bucks for a reported $550 million in 2014. While Lasry is selling his stake in the team, he is not giving up his real estate holdings around the Fiserv Forum and Deer District area, which is wise considering the growth in that part of Milwaukee.

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