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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Could David Geffen be bringing LeBron to L.A.? Wishing ain't believing

June 8, 2010 |  6:33 pm

Lebron_james Anything involving LeBron James these days turns into an immediate soap opera, thanks to all of the frenzied speculation over where the NBA MVP might land when he declares free agency next month.

So I guess that it's no surprise that the Internet was wildly abuzz today with the "supposed" news that David Geffen was angling to buy 51% of the Los Angeles Clippers from Beverly Hills zillionaire Donald Sterling, otherwise known as basketball's WWO (as in World's Worst Owner).

According to the usually well-connected New York Post basketball columnist Peter Vecsey, Geffen was in the midst of a major ownership maneuver that could open the door for James coming to the Clippers. Vecsey had spotted Geffen sitting courtside at the Lakers-Celtics game the other night alongside Maverick Carter, LeBron's business ventures wizard, and figured out this scenario, which is written in the kind of hyperventilated New York columnist prose that you just don't get to see anymore:

"An impeccable source reveals David Geffen is hot to buy 51 percent of the Clippers. Friday night, the billionaire co-founder of the zaftig film-making company [translation: DreamWorks], had dinner in Los Angeles with Donald Sterling to discuss just that .... For the sake of argument, surely Sterling must understand, by giving way to Geffen, his constellation, which often IS dying in the corner of the sky, would greatly illuminate and increase in value -- should the record-company big shot be able to recruit LeBron like he signed Bob Dylan and the Eagles. In fact, Geffen has been deep in the hunt for quite some time. My source claims he told Sterling he can deliver LeBron as long as he's calling the shots."  

It sounded pretty plausible, at least until I managed to get one of Geffen's close advisors to ask him if it were true. He offered a succinct response: "Pure nonsense." It is true that Geffen did sit with Carter at the Lakers game, but Geffen often uses his courtside seats to schmooze with a variety of power players. Geffen has told friends that there's no truth to his having made an offer to buy the team, especially since Sterling has a long history of never, ever selling a controlling interest in anything he owns (something Vecsey himself noted in his own column).

It's an appealing fantasy, especially for L.A. basketball fans, who'd love to see the Clippers finally transformed into a serious basketball organization, giving us the chance to enjoy a world-class rivalry between the Clippers and the Lakers. And it probably would be a brilliant move for Geffen, who must see what an undervalued resource the Clippers have been, thanks to all these years of Sterling mismanagement. But Geffen insists it ain't gonna happen and I'm willing to take him at his word.

My colleague Mark Heisler, our paper's NBA guru, has always said that you can't believe a fraction of the stories being spun by ESPN and all the other NBA gossip mills. So until someone spots LeBron at Geffen's beach house, with a "Dreamgirls" original cast CD under his arm, I'm betting that the Clippers are stuck with Sterling for another decade of hoops missteps and misery.  

Photo: LeBron James during Game 2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers playoff series against the Boston Celtics. Credit: Mark Duncan / Associated Press