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Warriors' Joe Lacob Says He Has 'Standing Offer' to Buy Athletics from John Fisher

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 10, 2022

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

In the event he ever wants to sell the team, Oakland Athletics managing partner John Fisher may not have to look far for a buyer.

"I've had a standing offer to buy the A's from John Fisher for I don't even know how long. Over a decade," Golden State Warriors governor Joe Lacob told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. "It's up to him; it's his business. It would have been smarter to sell to me a long time ago because we would have been partners, and he would have been able to own a part of the Warriors as well. I tried to tell him that. I would have done a ratio deal."

Lacob also recounted how he "had the A's done" before they were sold by Steve Schott to Fisher and Lew Wolff in 2005. Per Shea, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig preferred Wolff, who was a fraternity brother when they attended college at the University of Wisconsin.

Lacob said the purchase "got yanked from under me."

"I was really pissed at Bud Selig," he said. "I easily qualified; that wasn't the issue. Bud basically did what he wanted to do, and he didn't know me. So I learned a little lesson from that, which is it's not all about money. You've got to have the right friends in these leagues."

A's history would probably look a lot different if Lacob had come aboard.

Since 2008, the franchise has never had an Opening Day payroll higher than 23rd. The rise of Moneyball predated the tenure of Fisher and Wolff, but they have carried on the same spending habits.

Contrast that with the Warriors, who have spared no expense in order to maintain their dynasty. Between salary costs and luxury-tax payments, Golden State had a $184 million payroll for the 2021-22 season.

According to Forbes (h/t CNBC's Jabari Young), the Warriors generated the highest basketball-related revenue in the NBA in 2021 with $474 million, and the newly built Chase Center bolsters that financial strength.

The Athletics, meanwhile, are struggling to get a new stadium built, one that could theoretically pad their bottom line the same way Chase Center has for Golden State.

Lacob lamented how he "would've had this thing done a long time ago" in reference to a new A's stadium.

"I'd just pay for it all privately like I did with the Warriors," he said to Shea. "And you know what? You get to say at the end of the day, 'I didn't take any money from you.' You didn't get the $300 million or $400 million in infrastructure money, whatever, but it's easier for me to be able to take that tack."

The dream of a stadium at Howard Terminal in Oakland remains alive for the time being, but it still faces many obstacles before becoming a reality. And the absence of a firm plan for a new park has led to concerns over whether A's ownership will relocate.

In light of Lacob's comments, many Athletics fans will be left to wonder what could've been and what might be if Fisher ever takes him up on the offer.

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