Daily Distractions: Imagining a world in which the Dodgers and Clippers are owned by the same group.

Magic Johnson

Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson is reportedly interested in buying the Clippers if Donald Sterling is forced to sell the team. (Getty Images)

Baseball’s Detroit Tigers and hockey’s Detroit Red Wings have been owned by the same man, Mike Ilitch, since 1992. There is little overlap between the MLB and NHL seasons, so it’s not hard to share the same core group of fans. There are no other MLB or NHL teams in town. For his part, Ilitch quickly turned the Red Wings from a loser into one of hockey’s most valuable brands. By the time he bought the Tigers, he had built up enough goodwill in the city to be welcomed by local baseball fans with open arms.

For those who question if it’s possible to own two teams in the same market, look no further than Detroit.

Los Angeles is not Detroit, of course, and it might be time to start asking questions in Southern California. Magic Johnson has reportedly expressed interest in buying the NBA’s Clippers from disgraced owner Donald Sterling. What would it look like if the Dodgers and Clippers were owned by the same group?

Fans already boo Clippers star Chris Paul whenever he’s shown on the video board at Dodger Stadium. Pau Gasol and other Lakers are cheered like the hometown team. Clearly, Dodger Stadium is a Laker stadium. This might get weird.

Or will it? If Johnson is the face of Dodger ownership, he’s also the face of the WNBA’s Sparks and Magic Johnson Theaters. His name is not synonymous with the Dodgers; it’s synonymous with “multiple business interests.” In theory, it should be easy to put the Clippers in the context of Another Magic Johnson Business Interest. Same goes for the other Guggenheim investors; it’s yet to be seen how many of them want in on the Clippers.

In practice, how weird this gets might depend on why Dodger fans boo Clipper players. Is it a knee-jerk reaction to the Clipper brand from Laker fans? Is it because of Sterling? Is it just a Chris Paul thing?

Sterling might be replaceable; we’ll find out soon enough. Paul’s time as a Clipper is inherently temporary. But if it’s a knee-jerk reaction from Laker fans, this might not go over well.

Johnson was a minority owner of the Lakers until 2010, when he sold his shares to Patrick Soon-Shiong, but that didn’t really change his status as a face of (and a mouthpiece for) the Lakers franchise. A world in which Magic Johnson owns the Clippers could be an uncomfortable one for Laker fans. This could be perceived as heel turn worse than Phil Jackson joining the Knicks’ front office.

Johnson said last October in Atlanta that Los Angeles can be both a Lakers town and a Dodgers town. Selling Dodger fans on the idea that this can be a Clipper town too might be beyond even Johnson’s long reach.

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SportsNet LA releases details about its initial night of programming.

Vin Scully

Vin Scully will work the first Dodgers spring training telecast on SportsNet LA. (Associated Press photo)

The Dodgers announced the programming lineup for launch night of SportsNet LA, the team-owned network set to debut next Tuesday at 7 p.m.

The evening will begin with “Access SportsNet: Dodgers,” followed by the inaugural episode of “Backstage: Dodgers,” back-to-back “Connected With…” interview shows featuring Clayton Kershaw and Don Mattingly and a one-hour retrospective special about last year’s season.

Among the other “prominent Dodger personalities” that will be featured that night are co-owner Earvin “Magic” Johnson, broadcaster Vin Scully, and special advisor Tommy Lasorda.

SportsNet LA is still attempting to find carriers in addition to Time Warner. As of right now, only Time Warner subscribers will be able to tune in when the network goes live. A spokesperson for the network said that the channel number still hasn’t been announced.

Here are some more details, provided by the team, about SportsNet LA’s debut-night programs:

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Daily Distractions: The Dodgers buy the Sparks, sort of.

The WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks are now property of the Dodgers. Sort of.

Under the terms of a just-completed sale, the Sparks belong to five of the six people who own the Dodgers: Magic Johnson, Mark Walter, Stan Kasten, Bobby Patton and Todd Boehly. Peter Guber, who co-owns both the Dodgers and the Golden State Warriors, isn’t involved in the Sparks purchase.

Colleague Jill Painter reports that Johnson was the only member of the unnamed group who spoke Wednesday at a press conference at Staples Center. Johnson said that he and Walter decided about two weeks ago to place a bid on the franchise while the two were sharing a flight. “We came in at the 11th hour,” Johnson said.

Kasten, the Dodgers’ president and CEO, declined comment on what his role would be beyond financier.

Yesterday we speculated about whether Sparks games would wind up on SportsNet LA if the Dodgers purchased the Sparks. That won’t happen.

The Sparks have a contract with Time Warner through 2016. Time Warner owns TWC SportsNet, which has been carrying Sparks games the past two seasons. The Dodgers (technically, American Media Productions) own SportsNet LA.

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If Magic Johnson buys the Sparks, will the Dodgers’ network have a second tenant?

A press conference has been scheduled for 10 a.m. tomorrow involving representatives of the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks and Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson. The Sparks are up for sale. Johnson has money.

That’s about all we know at the moment. Connect the dots at your own leisure.

Here’s what we don’t know:
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Magic Johnson on Robinson Cano: ‘He’s going to get paid — not by us, but he’s going to get paid.”

Robinson Cano

Robinson Cano and his recently hired agent, rapper Jay Z, are asking for too much money to be counted among the Dodgers’ priorities. (Getty Images)

Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson all but ruled out making a run at free agent second baseman Robinson Cano prior to the Dodgers’ NLDS opener against the Atlanta Braves on Thursday.

Johnson was discussing re-signing pitcher Clayton Kershaw when he mentioned Cano, though not by name. Asked how much more expensive Kershaw would become if he went 5-0 in the postseason, Johnson said “we’re not worried about that.”

“We already know we’ve got to give (Kershaw) a lot of money, what’s a few more zeroes?” Johnson said, laughing. “I hope he goes 5-0. I’ll take that all day long. This young man is going to get paid.

“I can’t talk about the other guy, the guy in New York. He’s going to get paid — not by us, but he’s going to get paid. When you’re a superstar, you get paid. We understand that.”
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