The Golden State Warriors are accustomed to being in the news, but not for the reasons that find them making headlines lately. Not only are they losing to the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Finals, one of their minority owners, Mark Stevens, has been fined and banned for conduct during Game Three in Oakland Wednesday night.
Late in the game, Raptors guard Kyle Lowry dove after a loose ball going out of bounds. He landed on fans in the first row sitting courtside. Stevens, who happened to be sitting nearby, reached over and shoved Lowry.
Lowry immediately demanded he be removed, which he was, and after the game stated that Stevens had also directed obscene language at him multiple times during the incident.
As could be expected, the NBA did not let the incident go unchecked. Punishment has been handed down. Stevens, who is worth an estimated $2.3 billion, has been fined $500,000 by the NBA and banned from attending any NBA games for the next year.
The league announced the punishment in a statement to the media:
“A team representative must be held to the highest possible standard, and the conduct of Golden State Warriors investor Mark Stevens last night was beyond unacceptable and has no place in our league. As the review of this matter continues, Mr. Stevens will not be permitted to attend NBA games.”
When asked why the ban was not a lifetime one, NBA commissioner Adam Silver referred to how apologetic and contrite Stevens had been since the incident occurred. He also referred to there having been no previous incidents involving Stevens.
But that doesn’t mean that the issue is going to go away anytime soon. Despite Silver’s reasoning, many have openly questioned why an owner is allowed to remain part of the team after interfering with another player during a game.
At least one sportsbook is offering odds on whether Stevens will still be a part of the Warriors organization next season:
- Will Mark Stevens Be A Minority Owner Of The Golden State Warriors In 2020?
o Yes +300
o No -500
That translates to an 83.33 percent chance that he will not be with the team and a 25 percent chance that he will be.
Had Lowry reacted, he would likely have been suspended for the remainder of the Finals—which would impact the outcome – and likely part of next season. Had a random fan been involved, that person would have probably been banned for life. Why should the standard be lower for someone who can easily afford a $500,000 fine?
Many have referred to Donald Sterling’s case to justify forcing him to sell. While reprehensible, Sterling’s actions were in private, and he was recorded without his knowledge. Stevens acted while sitting courtside at a nationally televised game.
But whether the NBA can force him to sell is a murky issue that is up to interpretation, and it may not be a line that the league wants to cross. However, that doesn’t mean the league will not or that the Warriors will not ask him to sell (or force him to).
Should he sell, Bovada.lv is offering odds on how much he will get for his 8 percent share:
- Over $300 million -120
- Under $300 million -120
Rumors are circulating that he is going to be forced to sell, but they have not been confirmed yet. Should it be confirmed, the odds will likely move.
With the Warriors currently valued at $3.5 billion, his stake has a value of $280 million. As popular as the Warriors are, taking the over is probably a safe bet.