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Milwaukee Bucks to be sold for $550 million, according to report

After 29 years, the Bucks will have a new owner.

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Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Bucks won't be leaving town anytime soon. Longtime owner Herb Kohl has agreed to sell his majority stake in the franchise to Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry, ESPN's Marc Stein reports. Still pending league approval, the deal is worth $550 million and sees the team's first ownership transition in 29 years.

Kohl, a Milwaukee native, purchased the Bucks in 1985 from Jim Fitzgerald for $18 million and has worked to keep the team in the city ever since. Making sure the team stays in Milwaukee was reportedly one of the major conditions of the sale. Kohl is also a former U.S. Senator who represented Wisconsin from 1989 to 2013 before deciding not to seek re-election two years ago.


The new ownership group will have pressure to bring a new arena to Milwaukee/Photo credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Now 79 years old, Kohl's sale of the Bucks also comes as the NBA puts pressure on the team and city to build a new arena. With the league openly criticizing the Bucks' current building, BMO Bradley Harris Center, it's likely that a new arena will be part of any deal keeping the them in Milwaukee.

A task force from the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association recently determined that "retrofitting the BMO Harris Bradley Center was not feasible," according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which doesn't really leave the Bucks with many other options.

The team hired New York firm Allen & Co. to lead a search for new investors recently.

On the court, the Bucks were a disaster in 2013-14, finishing with the league's worst record. They've also committed $44 million to Larry Sanders, who struggled through an injury-plagued season and was suspended for the final five games of the year for drug violations.

The silver lining is a high pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, which could give the team another cornerstone to join Giannis Antetokounmpo and John Henson. With that core and what appears to be committed new ownership, it's possible the Bucks can get turned around quickly.