Since his purchase of the franchise, there has never realistically been a time when the Lakers have been for sale. That doesn’t mean there haven’t been some approaches to purchase it, though.
As one of the most valuable franchises in all sports across the world, there are plenty of people who are interested in a piece of the pie, if not the whole thing. Those slices, though, have been rare to come by and the whole thing has never hit the market — and doesn’t appear likely to anytime soon — despite some gaudy offers.
In a recent appearance on The Athletic NBA Show podcast, Jeanie Buss revealed that her father was offered a huge fee for the club two decades ago and also discussed the funny reason why he turned it down.
“I remember the first time he was offered a billion dollars for the Lakers and that was maybe 2003 or 2004, after the 3-peat that we had. He just was so shocked by that and couldn’t even imagine the team being worth that much. But he said ‘You know, Jeanie, the problem with that is that’s so much money. I would get the money and people would say what are you going to do with all that money? The first thing I’d want to do is buy the Lakers.’”
To Dr. Buss’ credit, he was always willing to spend on the team and was a great owner from the moment he joined the league. And because of that, the valuation of the franchise continued to rise.
Now, the franchise is worth multiple billions of dollars. In 2003 or 2004, though, a $1 billion sale would have been enormous. However, even with inflation, it would not be anything close to what the franchise is worth nowadays.
If you wanted to get into the butterfly effect, how much would the value of an NBA franchise skyrocketed if one was sold for $1 billion in the early 2000s? Fortunately, Lakers fans never had to experience that and, instead, won a number of more titles since then.
But, boy, what a wild what if had things played out differently.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.