Josh Harris is adding more firepower to his bid for the Washington Commanders.
NBA legend Magic Johnson has joined Harris‘ group that is attempting to purchase the Commanders from owner Dan Snyder, according to a report. Sportico reported Monday that Johnson —a Hall of Fame former basketball player who is a minority owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers — is “providing both money and expertise” to Harris‘ bid for the franchise.
Johnson previously teamed up with Harris in their failed bid for the Denver Broncos, who were sold to Walmart heir Rob Walton for a record $4.65 billion. Johnson was also linked to the Las Vegas Raiders this past fall as reports emerged he was interested in becoming a minority partner.
Johnson also appears to have some familiarity with Commanders owner Dan Snyder as he tweeted in 2013 that their families had dinner together.
.@cjbycookie and I enjoyed having dinner with Redskins Owner Daniel Snyder and his wife Tanya!— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) June 29, 2013
Harris has been long rumored as a candidate for the Commanders. Still, his candidacy could be strengthening as the Philadelphia 76ers owner added Maryland-based billionaire Mitchell Rales and Johnson to the fold. Harris has also toured the team’s headquarters in Ashburn.
The news of Johnson’s interest in the Commanders comes ahead of next week’s NFL owners’ meetings in Phoenix. The meetings, which begin Sunday, have repeatedly been mentioned as a target date for the Commanders to be sold as owners would vote on a proposal at the gatherings if an agreement has been reached.
No deal has been officially reached, though rumors have persisted that such an agreement is getting closer. Pro Football Talk reported late Thursday that Washington employees believe a sale is “imminent,” adding that Dan and Tanya Snyder cleared out their offices in Ashburn last December in anticipation of a sale. NBC Sports Washington’s JP Finlay tweeted that a deal has moved from the red zone to “first-and-goal.”
Beyond Harris, who is the managing principal owner of the NBA‘s 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta have also been mentioned as prospective buyers for the Commanders. Snyder reportedly barred Bezos from making a bid because of his ownership of The Washington Post, though the New York Post reported that Bezos recently signed a confidentiality agreement that could indicate he’ll be allowed to enter the process.
Harris, according to Forbes, has a net worth of $5.7 billion, while Rales has a net worth of $5.5 billion. The business publication valued the Commanders at $5.6 billion, though Snyder is reportedly seeking at least $6 billion for the franchise.
The Commanders have been on the market since at least November, when the team announced that Snyder hired an investment bank to explore “potential transactions” that include a possible sale.
• Matthew Paras can be reached at email@example.com.
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