Joe Lacob wants WNBA team in Bay Area

Updated: January 24, 2014, 2:03 PM ET
By Michelle Smith | espnW.com

Three weeks after the Los Angeles Sparks ownership group turned over the team to the WNBA to search for a new owner, there is no word from the league about whether it has secured new life for one of its founding franchises.

[+] EnlargeJoe Lacob and Peter Guber
AP Photo/Jeff ChiuWarriors majority owner Joe Lacob, left, says he would like to bring a WNBA team to the Bay Area.

But during a radio interview Thursday, Golden State Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob reiterated his interest, saying, "It's a dream of ours to own a WNBA team."

"We do have interest," Lacob said on KNBR Radio in San Francisco on Thursday. "I think it would be very successful here in the Bay Area."

Lacob confirmed his team has talked with the WNBA about the Sparks but indicated that he did not know whether the Warriors would end up running the team.

"We are not in a rush to do it because we are focused on our primary business with the Warriors and building an arena [in San Francisco]," Lacob said. "But if the opportunity came along, we would definitely do it."

After three quiet weeks from the WNBA, sources indicate the Warriors aren't the only ones interested.

There might be a Los Angeles individual or group that would like to own the Sparks and keep them in Southern California. Sources said a group was put in touch with the WNBA through a contact with the Los Angeles Lakers.

"I don't know if we are going to get this team," Lacob said. "If it stayed in L.A., that's also fine. We will eventually do it and we would do it well."

The WNBA won't publicly discuss the Sparks' future. With other league activity happening -- such as the Wednesday announcement that the 2014 All-Star Game will be played in Phoenix, and Thursday's hiring of Fred Williams as coach of the Tulsa Shock -- there is still no league schedule released for the upcoming season, no collective bargaining agreement and no progress report on the Sparks' situation.

The league declined two interview requests on the subject this week, with a spokesman saying there were no updates.

Lacob has previously owned the San Jose Lasers of the defunct American Basketball League. The ABL started before the WNBA in 1996, but it folded a year and a half later. Lacob was the league's largest individual investor.

Lacob said he initially showed interest in women's professional basketball "because I thought it was cool and I wanted to show my daughters that women's basketball was as important to me as men's."

Lacob said the Warriors organization is looking to become a year-round basketball operation -- with the NBA team, its successful D-League franchise in nearby Santa Cruz and a WNBA team "somewhere in the Bay Area."

"We will do whatever it takes to be successful," Lacob said of the WNBA. "I'm sure, absolutely 100 percent confident that a WNBA team in the Bay Area would do extremely well. It's a great market for it."

Michelle Smith

Contributor, espnW.com

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