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Multiple groups bidding to buy Liberty, source confirms

Shavonte Zellous #1 of the Liberty handles the

Shavonte Zellous #1 of the Liberty handles the ball against the Dallas Wings during a WNBA game at Madison Square Garden on Friday, June 2, 2017.  Credit: Steven Ryan

Multiple potential ownership groups are in discussions to purchase the WNBA’s Liberty from The Madison Square Garden Company, a source confirmed on Thursday.

ESPN was first to report that “several” groups were in discussions with MSG. ESPN also reported that the groups are preparing purchase bids and have agreed to nondisclosure agreements as part of the process. ESPN reported that the expectation is the team would remain in New York after the sale.

It remains unclear where the Liberty would play their home games if the franchise was to stay in New York. The Liberty has played at MSG since 1997.

James Dolan, MSG executive chairman and chief executive officer, announced about two weeks ago that he was selling the Liberty. The Liberty are one of the WNBA’s original eight franchises and Dolan is the last original owner.

“This was a difficult decision for us, which we made after carefully assessing the needs of our business,” Dolan said in the news release announcing the team was for sale. “We are confident that new ownership can build on the foundation we established over these last 21 years, and steward this incredible franchise into an even more successful future.”

The Liberty has been among the WNBA’s best teams the past three seasons, winning 20 or more games each time. The roster features All-Stars Tina Charles and Sugar Rodgers, and the backcourt of Epiphanny Prince and North Babylon’s Bria Hartley.

The Liberty promoted former WNBA player Katie Smith to head coach in October, replacing Bill Laimbeer, who is now the president and head coach of the Las Vegas franchise.

New York Sports