Boston Celtics owners, led by Wyc Grousbeck, announce plan to sell team – The Washington Post

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Two weeks after guiding the Boston Celtics to an NBA-record 18th championship, the franchise’s owners are ready to cash out.

Boston Basketball Partners, the ownership group fronted by Wyc Grousbeck, announced Monday its intention to sell “a majority interest” of the franchise by “early 2025” and to close on a sale of “all the shares” in 2028. Grousbeck, a venture capital executive who led the purchase of the Celtics for $360 million in 2002, plans to remain as the franchise’s governor until 2028.

“The controlling family of the ownership group, after considerable thought and internal discussion, has decided to sell the team for estate and family planning considerations,” the Celtics said in a statement.

Grousbeck’s tenure has produced two championships — in 2008 and 2024 — and 16 postseason appearances in the past 17 seasons. The 63-year-old owner joined the locker room celebrations when the Celtics finished off the Dallas Mavericks with a Game 5 win in the NBA Finals two weeks ago, and he held the Larry O’Brien Trophy during the team’s championship parade through the streets of Boston.

During its most recent franchise valuations, Forbes concluded the Celtics were worth $4.7 billion — the fourth-most-valuable NBA franchise behind the Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers. However, Boston had a payroll of $183.7 million last season — the fourth highest in the league — and Grousbeck told the Boston Globe in June that the franchise was “losing money” during its championship season.

“We’re fans who bought the team,” Grousbeck told the paper. “We’re doing this for love. We’re doing this for Celtic pride, and we’re going to put everything we can into the team to win a banner, to win a championship.”

The Celtics, given their rich history, large market and prestige, almost certainly will fetch a record sale price that tops the $4 billion paid by mortgage industry executive Mat Ishbia for the Phoenix Suns in 2023.

Given the NBA’s new salary cap rules, which add stiffer financial penalties and new restrictions for the league’s highest-spending teams, keeping Boston’s championship team together will become increasingly expensive. The Celtics are on track to return their entire starting lineup and all of their key reserves for their title defense in the 2024-25 season, but after that they are likely to face hard roster choices or be forced to pay what could be unprecedented luxury tax bills.

Grousbeck is not the only NBA owner to pursue a sale during good times in recent years. Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry sold his stake in February 2023, shortly after the franchise won the 2021 championship, its first title in 50 years. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban sold his majority stake in November, just months before the Mavericks reached the Finals for the first time in 13 years.

Under Commissioner Adam Silver, the average NBA franchise value has increased from $634 million in 2014 to $3.85 billion last year, according to Forbes.

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