Team is expected to remain in Atlanta…
The Atlanta Hawks owners have approved the plan to sell all the shares in the team as well as the operating rights to the Philips Arena.
The team’s owners revealed on Thursday that they have unanimously approved a plan to sell all shares and that a sale would “commence immediately”.
Mayor Kasim Reed has revealed that the city might offer concessions to any new owner to ensure that the Hawks commit to remaining in Atlanta for 30 more years.
The Hawks would have to pay a $75m early-termination fee if they leave Philips Arena before the 2018-19 season, but naturally the hope is that the new owners will have no future plans to move the franchise.
The announcement comes a week after joint co-owners Bruce Levenson and his Washington partner Ed Peskowitz were joined by the remaining ownership groups in the sale with the duo controlling 50.1 percent of the team.
Those concerned believe that they are likely to make a sizeable profit in the current market after the Los Angeles Clippers were sold for $2 billion after being valued at $575m a year ago.
Forbed valued the Hawks at $425m before the sale of the Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks ($550m), but given the new TV deal and Atlanta’s performances on the court this season, their value may well be significantly higher now.
The Hawks are 27-8 for the season which is their best start in franchise history and they currently top the Eastern Conference. In addition, with coach Mike Budenholzer at the helm, the team are playing ‘San Antonio Spurs like basketball’ with his influence after spending years working with Gregg Popovich.
The hope is that the sale talk will not distract the players, however, after dealing with the controversy of Levenson’s emails and comments made by general manager Danny Ferry last year, they appear fully focused on the task in hand.