Los Angeles Lakers great Earvin "Magic" Johnson has made it back to a final four, and as the highest bidder (for now), his group highlights the last four bids still in the running to buy the team.
The Changeup: Dodgers Updates, the Frank McCourt Era
Johnson, in partnership with former major league executive Stan Kasten, has reportedly bid $1.6 billion for the Dodgers, which would set a record for the highest sale price of a North American professional sports franchise. Joining the Johnson-Kasten group among remaining bidders -- St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, hedge-fund billionaire Steven Cohen, and a group led by Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley, according to the Los Angeles Times.
But outgoing owner Frank McCourt has set up an agreement with Major League Baseball that allows him to select the highest bidder and submit it to the owners, who are expected to approve an owner next week, according to Forbes.
Though nothing is official or certain, with Johnson as the highest bidder, it's very likely his group will be in the running.
Johnson is the most well-known of the remaining bidders. The 52-year-old won five NBA championships with the Lakers and helped revive the league's popularity with his rivalry with Celtics great Larry Bird. He also became the face of HIV awareness after contracting the HIV.
But who exactly makes up the rest of the group, officially known as Guggenheim Baseball Partners, and what role will they play within the organization?
Stan Kasten has been involved in sports management for decades. The former president of the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves, Kasten has known Johnson for over 30 years, and once offered him a job to coach the Atlanta Hawks.
A major contributor to the city of Atlanta, Kasten oversaw the development of Turner Field, the Braves' home field that evolved from the Olympic Stadium that served as the showpiece of the 1996 Atlanta Games.
He also oversaw the construction of Philips Arena, home to the Hawks, and served as the team's president in 1986. He also ran the former Atlanta Thrashers, who have since moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada and were renamed the Jets.
Some have called Kasten arrogant over the years, a title he resents but accepts, he said in a 2006 Washington Post profile. But baseball leaders also view him as a "model executive," according to the article, which adds that he has an impressive financial track record, something the Dodgers could desperately use in the post-McCourt era.
Johnson told ESPN in December that Kasten's ideal role in the organization would be to over see the baseball operations.
He was also in Arizona recently, to check out the Dodgers spring training facility Camelback Ranch in Glendale.
He's the muscle of the group. Mark Walter is chief executive officer of Guggenheim Partners, a financial services firm that deals with investments and securities among other services.
Not much is known about Walter, whose company manages $125 billion in assets, but Johnson also told ESPN that the Iowa native, ideally, would be the one signing the checks for the team.
This may come as a relief for Dodgers fans, many upset with McCourt for seemingly not spending enough money on players.
And, as for potential beautification of the stadium, Walter may know a little something about art -- he's a trustee of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.