Milwaukee Bucks forward and Racine native Caron Butler has ambitious plans to expand his business enterprises and one business he would like to buy is the Bucks.
Butler is serious about his interest in becoming a major investor in his hometown team. His timing could be perfect because just as his NBA career winds down in two to three years, Bucks owner Herb Kohl likely will be ready to sell.
Kohl, the former U.S. senator who has owned the Bucks since 1985, has said repeatedly that he will sell the team only to a buyer who will keep the Bucks in Milwaukee. Butler, 33, grew up a Bucks fan, moved his family to Racine County after the team acquired him in August and would like to see the Bucks succeed in Milwaukee.
I interviewed Butler for a story on his business interests for the Dec. 6 print edition of The Business Journal. I was surprised to learn during our first visit that he wants to manage and/or own an NBA or pro sports team and he specifically would like that team to be the Bucks.
“Of course,” he said of his interest in the Bucks. “It’s home. I love it.”
Butler’s comments instantly make him the first and only potential Bucks suitor to identify himself publicly. He told me he has yet to discuss the idea with Kohl. Also, Butler would not be able to buy a team until he retires as a player.
Kohl’s office did not provide a comment. Kohl has said his main focus for now besides building a winning team is getting a better downtown Milwaukee venue for Bucks home games as metro-area leaders prepare to study funding for a possible new arena or greatly improved BMO Harris Bradley Center.
The Bucks issued the following statement in declining to comment:
“Caron is a valued member of the Bucks and our community for his contributions both on and off the court. That said, it would be inappropriate for us to comment on a personal decision he may or may not make after his playing days are over.”
During his 12-year NBA career, Butler has signed contracts that total an estimated $75 million. The Bucks are paying him $8 million for the current season.
Buying an NBA team would cost about $500 million, estimates Butler’s business manager Raymond Brothers of IAM Sports & Entertainment, Beverly Hills, Calif. The Bucks value was calculated at $312 million by Forbes in January.
“We would put a group together,” Brothers said. “But he wants to be not only in a group but he wants to be involved in management.”
Butler, who attended the University of Connecticut for two years before entering the NBA draft, has been eager to learn everything that he can about the business side of the league.
This summer, Butler participated in an NBA leadership program that included meetings with team general managers and owners, he said.