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Report: Grant Hill's group 'viable contender' for Clippers ownership

By James Herbert | NBA writer

Hill has only been retired for one season.
Hill has only been retired for one season. (USATSI)

More: Sterling authorizes wife to negotiate sale | Sterling updates | NBA news

Former NBA star and current analyst Grant Hill has teamed up with Tony Ressler and Bruce Karsh in a potential Los Angeles Clippers ownership group, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.

Sources told ESPN.com that Hill's group is already regarded by league officials as a viable contender for the Clippers in what is forecast to be a highly competitive auction when the franchise finally hits the open market. One industry source told ESPN.com this week that the bidding could start as high as the $1.5 billion range.

The power trio of Oprah Winfrey, David Geffen and Larry Ellison, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso, Lakers minority owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, former NBA star Yao Ming and, of course, Hall of Famer Magic Johnson and his Guggenheim Partners are among the various groups and individuals expected to compete for the Lakers' co-tenants at Staples Center.

Hill has only been retired for one season and finished his playing career as a member of the Clippers in 2012-2013. Ressler, previously reported to be "aggressively" going after the team," and Karsh are both billionaire investors.

There reportedly could be 10 or more interested parties if the NBA is successful in forcing a sale. There will be plenty of competition, but having Hill should register as a favorable face of the franchise from the league's perspective.

Led by commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA is trying to terminate Donald Sterling's ownership. The other 29 owners will vote on the matter at a hearing in New York City on June 3.

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