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Clippers' potential bidders include David Geffen, Magic Johnson

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Potential bidders for the Clippers are lining up after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday he would push for the team's sale as part of his sweeping sanctions against Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

Sterling bought the club for $12.5 million in 1981, but the Clippers' value now totals at least $575 million, according to Forbes. That ranked the Clippers as the league's 13th most valuable franchise.

Here's a list of potential bidders, including some who publicly confirmed their interest:

David Geffen — The music and film mogul, with a net worth estimated by Forbes at $6.2 billion, reportedly tried to buy the Clippers in 2010 and his office said he's interested again.

Full coverage: The Donald Sterling controversy

In an email Tuesday, his office said Geffen was not available for comment "but if the Clippers become available, he would be interested in buying the franchise."

Rick Caruso — The billionaire real estate developer told The Times on Monday that he would be interested in leading, or joining, a group that would own the Clippers.

Caruso, in partnership with former Dodgers manager Joe Torre, had planned to make a bid to purchase the Dodgers from Frank McCourt in 2012 but dropped out.

As for the Clippers, "Whether it's me or somebody else, clearly there needs to be new ownership," Caruso said.

Magic Johnson — The former Lakers great teamed with Guggenheim Partners in purchasing the Dodgers from McCourt, and Johnson —with financial backing from Guggenheim — would be interested in the Clippers as well, The Times reported Monday, citing a person familiar with the situation.

At his press conference Tuesday, Silver said that "Magic Johnson knows he's always welcome as an owner in this league. He's been a part owner in the past of the Los Angeles Lakers and is always welcome and a close friend of the NBA family."

Johnson once owned about 4.5% of the Lakers, but he sold that stake for an undisclosed price in 2010.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. — The boxer said he would like to put together a group to make an offer and was "very, very interested in buying the Clippers."

Preparing for Saturday night's fight against Marcos Maidana in Las Vegas, Mayweather said that "it's not just talk" about acquiring the club. "I want to do it."

Patrick Soon-Shiong — This billionaire doctor, biotech investor and longtime sports fan in Los Angeles is the one who bought Johnson's stake, and he's believed to be interested in the Clippers.

Soon-Shiong, while teamed with money manager Steven Cohen, also was in the hunt to buy the Dodgers from McCourt before the Guggenheim Partners group prevailed. Soon-Shiong was unavailable for comment.

Larry Ellison — The billionaire chief executive of software giant Oracle tried to purchase the Golden State Warriors — whom the Clippers currently face in the NBA playoffs — in 2010.

But Ellison lost out to a rival joint offer from Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, who paid $450 million for the Warriors. Ellison could not be reached for comment.

Some bidding groups for the Clippers started to form even before Silver's announcement, according to a person familiar with the matter who said he expected any sale process to be protracted.

It took one year from the time Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig stripped McCourt of control of the Dodgers' finances until a sale of the team was completed, with a legal fight in the interim.

"This could be McCourt times two," the person said. "We're not even in the first inning yet."

james.peltz@latimes.com

Twitter: @PeltzLATimes

Times staff writers Bill Shaikin and James Rainey contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Los Angeles ClippersSportsNBAMagic JohnsonFrank McCourtBaseballBasketball
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