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Cavs owner in 'serious' negotiations to sell team
By Tom Withers, The Associated Press
CLEVELAND — Cavaliers owner Gordon Gund is in "serious" negotiations to sell the NBA franchise, which has enjoyed a dramatic financial turnaround since the arrival of star LeBron James.
Gund, who for the past few years had denied interest in selling the Cavaliers, released a statement Thursday night in which he said he is currently involved in talks with a potential buyer.

"We are engaged in serious negotiations to sell the Cleveland Cavaliers to a new principal owner," Gund said. "A potential buyer is presently verifying information about the Cavaliers. If matters go forward beyond this stage, we will enter into a formal contract subject to NBA approval."

Team spokesman Tad Carper said the team would have no further comment.

Citing unidentified sources, the New York Daily News reported that the club is on the verge of being sold to Dan Gilbert, a Michigan businessman, for $375 million. Gilbert is chief executive of Quicken Loans.

The potential sale is the latest in a number of NBA ownership changes this year.

The New Jersey Nets were sold to Brooklyn developer Bruce Ratner in January for an estimated $300 million. A nine-man group headed by Boston businessman Steve Belkin bought the Atlanta Hawks for $250 million in March, and the Phoenix Suns were sold to San Diego banking executive Robert Sarver in June for $401 million.

The Cavaliers were among the worst teams in the league just two years ago. Their attendance dropped to 13,792 per game and there was little local interest as the club went through numerous coaching changes and three straight 50-loss seasons.

Things bottomed out in 2002-03 when the Cavs went 17-65 — the worst record in the club's 35-year history.

But the club's fortunes changed when it won the NBA lottery and the rights to draft James.

A year ago, the Cavaliers went 35-47 as James brought fans to Gund Arena, boosting attendance to 18,522 per game.

Along with his brother, George, Gund bought the Cavaliers in 1983 for $20 million from Ted Stepien. The brothers also owned the NHL's San Jose Sharks before selling that franchise in 2002.

Gund, who lives in New Jersey, was in Cleveland on Wednesday for organizational meetings.

During his years as owner, the Cavaliers were one of the Eastern Conference's top teams in the late 1980s and early '90s. But they only made it to the conference finals once, losing to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in 1992.

In 1989, Jordan's last-second shot not only beat the heavily favored Cavaliers but raised his stature.

When rumors began to surface a few years ago that he was looking to sell the team, Gund maintained that he would listen to offers but was adamant that he wouldn't move the franchise.

In 1994, the Cavaliers moved from the Richfield Coliseum to a downtown arena bearing Gund's name.

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</head-short><last-modified>12/9/2004 9:59 PM
</last-modified><author>By Tom Withers, The Associated Press
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Gordon Gund is a very smart man to do this at this point in time. The value of is team has dramatically went up and after next season he is going to have to anty up over 100 million for LeBron so why not get out now and let someone else pay LeBron...

Very smart man in my eyes
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BuckeyeNation27 said:
now thats just mean. :p
man... I didnt even think of that....
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I for one love this news. Gordon Gund has always been known as an owner that was in it for the money. He would not want to spend the money to keep this team on the track it is going. (Read that as he is on record as saying he will not be willing to pay the Luxary Tax)

So he maximizes the team value before having the burden to sell the team after giving Z a big contract and taking on more money next year. It is a smart business move on his part.

Also hopefully the new owner will be willing to exceed the cap (Using all of those Larry Bird rights) and not being afraid to pay a $5 million dollar tax because his payroll is too high.

All is good in Cavalier World!:biggrin:
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CharlotteBuck-I said:
Just as long as they stay in Cleveland...

The buyer is from Detroit so the team is pretty safe in Cleveland. I guess they signed a long contract when they built the Gund so it would cost a lot to leave now. I just hope the new guy realizes that the only way he'll make money is if the team stays good for a long time.
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