Despite his close friendship with bidder Magic Johnson, Patrick Soon-Shiong has joined hedge-fund billionaire Steven Cohen's bid for the team, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Because Soon-Shiong is the richest man in Los Angeles, he's believed to be the golden ticket that will determine the team's next owner. Now that Cohen has Soon-Shiong behind him, they may be an insurmountable team.
Because Soon-Shiong bought a minority share in the Lakers from Johnson two years ago, it was believed by some that Soon-Shiong would team up with Magic. Although Johnson had the highest bid at $1.6 billion, Cohen's $1.4 billion bid impressed many because $900 million of it is cash, Biz of Baseball reports. Now, with Soon-Shiong on his team, Cohen's bid, which may end up at $2 billion, has the most green by far.
Soon-Shiong also gives Cohen's bid some much-needed LA cred. Cohen needs it because he lives in Connecticut, grew up a Mets fan and there are unconfirmed rumors that he hasn't even stepped foot in Dodgers Stadium, Lasondra's Lair points out. If Cohen wins the team, LA agent Arn Tellem is expected to become company president, and former baseball manager and infielder Tony La Russa will likely to be in charge of baseball operations.
Johnson's last hope may be to appeal to Frank McCourt, who makes the final ownership decision. As CBS speculates, "Johnson might have the best chance to help [McCourt] there if Johnson is willing to try to boost him publicly by somehow claiming McCourt isn't the person everyone already knows him to be."
Others, however, think that McCourt will simply go with the highest bidder in the end, and the end is drawing near. McCourt has to pick the winner by April 1 and close the deal by April 30.
CORRECTION: Cohen and Johnson's bidding amounts originally and incorrectly read "1.6 million" and "1.4 million." They have been edited to read "1.6 billion" and "1.4 billion."
Click through this slideshow to see the four remaining bidding teams, as well as previously existing bidders that have since been eliminated: