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Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed has revealed that he has already held talks with six prospective buyers for the Hawks and he expects a sale to move quickly.
The Hawks have faced intense scrutiny in recent weeks after it was revealed that owner Bruce Levenson sent an email two years ago theorising that many suburban white people would not attend NBA games because of the team’s African-American fans.
Meanwhile, general manager Danny Ferry remarked in a conference call that free agent target Luol Deng “had a little African in him” and added another derogatory comment about the now Miami Heat star.
While Ferry has been disciplined by the franchise, it is widely expected that neither will be able to stay in their positions, and Reed has now revealed that he hopes to move quickly to deal with the situation and help the Hawks recover.
“I have had conversations with no less than six prospective buyers,” Reed said, ESPN reports.
“All six of those prospective buyers will have to go through a process to be vetted by the NBA. That process is going to occur very quickly.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver added that he was lining up an investment bank to look into the finances of any potential buyer, while Reed insists that the city will likely be willing to offer concessions to any new owner in order to secure a guarantee of keeping the Hawks in Atlanta.
With Levenson departing, Hawks CEO Steve Koonin has dismissed calls for Ferry to be fired and has instead insisted that he can learn from the experience and be a better person for it. While his future is very much in doubt still, Reed will be hoping to move swiftly with the sale as training camp is set to begin in two weeks.
However, the bigger task may well be repairing the franchise’s reputation as New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony believes that the Hawks will now have a tough time in recruiting free agents in the future as they are unsure of the environment and people within the organisation.