HoopsHype Owners rumors

September 17, 2014 Updates

Gearon recorded the nearly hour-long call but only a brief snippet of the audio has been made available, and there is no full transcript of the call, three people familiar with those details told USA TODAY Sports. The league requested a full transcript, but one was not provided. Ferry's comments sparked the independent review, and the aftermath has rattled the franchise. Levenson is on his way out and Ferry is on indefinite leave. Turns out, Gearon might be getting two wishes. Also in Gearon's letter to Levenson, he wrote, "The racial diversity of our management team has changed for the worse since Ferry took over." USA Today Sports

The mayor has already heard from plenty of potential buyers for the Atlanta Hawks. And the city is ready to kick in a hefty sum to make the deal happen. Flanked by Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins and other city leaders, Mayor Kasim Reed said Tuesday he expects the sale of the team to move briskly after racially charged comments by owner Bruce Levenson and general manager Danny Ferry. "I have had conversations with no less than six prospective buyers," Reed said during a City Hall news conference. "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." USA Today Sports

Reed said he plans to meet with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on Sept. 26 in New York to discuss the sale of the Hawks. According to the mayor, the league is already lining up an investment bank to look into the finances of any potential buyer. "I think we're going to end up in a superior position, based on everything we know today, than we were before," Reed said. He didn't identify the prospective buyers, but whoever steps in would apparently have majority ownership. Levenson owns 24 percent of the team, and his Washington partner, Ed Peskowitz, has also agreed to sell his share, meaning that 50.1 percent of the team is now available, Reed said. USA Today Sports

In addition, Reed said the city will likely be willing to offer concessions to any new owner to ensure the Hawks commit to remaining in Atlanta for another 30 years. He said there could be as much as $150 million available after the city sells Turner Field, the current home of the Braves, though the mayor said that process has been held up by the baseball team's refusal to negotiate terms for its departure. USA Today Sports

September 16, 2014 Updates
September 12, 2014 Updates
September 11, 2014 Updates

The 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa continues to grow, with more than 3,700 suspected cases and 1,850 deaths. To help manage the public health response, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation today provided a transformational $9 million grant to the CDC Foundation. This significant grant will help advance the work of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local Ministries of Health to establish sustainable emergency operations centers in the most impacted countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. CDC Foundation

September 8, 2014 Updates

Jeff Zillgitt: NBPA acting director Ron Klempner: "We've had continuing discussions with the league office about the incidents of disturbing statements attributed to representatives of the Atlanta Hawks’ franchise. We recognize that there is an ongoing investigation regarding the circumstances and we will continue to monitor these events and take any action we deem appropriate." Twitter @JeffZillgitt

Looking for a little humor in this Bruce Levenson situation? Try visiting his profile page on the Hawks official website. That’s the site’s default display for any invalid URL – try www.nba.com/hawks/insertanywordshere, and you get the same result – but it’s a little funny in light of the circumstances. The Hawks have clearly pulled Levenson’s official profile from the site, though you can see a cached version here if you’re really interested. Even though he still owns the team, it’s probably best for everyone involved both sides keep their distance. And if you try to connect them, Dikembe Mutombo will be there to finger-wag you away. NBCSports.com

Did Levenson want to sell the team? There is evidence of that, too. In 2011, Levenson thought he had a deal to sell the Hawks to California businessman Alex Meruelo, only to have negotiations fall apart at the 11th hour. The NBA landscape has changed dramatically since then, with sales of the Milwaukee Bucks ($550 million) and Los Angeles Clippers ($2 billion) sending franchise values skyrocketing and the promise of a lucrative new television deal serving as a carrot that has prospective owners tripping over themselves to overbid. A team like the Hawks, which Forbes recently valued at $425 million, could fetch double that. “I think what happened was he saw how much teams were going for and wanted to make some money,” a rival team executive said. “What he said was wrong but to me it seems like an excuse to sell.” Sports Illustrated

August 27, 2014 Updates
August 26, 2014 Updates
August 25, 2014 Updates

New Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer drew comparisons to Mark Cuban with his high-fiving, chest-bumping, shouting introduction to the franchise’s fan base last week. The scene came as no surprise to the Dallas Mavericks owner, whose enthusiastic exhibitions had been unique among the NBA’s owners. “I’ve known Steve for a long time, going back into my twenties, and he’s always been this way,” Cuban said during an appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM’s “The Afternoon Show with Cowlishaw and Mosley” last week. “So this isn’t Steve Ballmer getting hyped just for the Clippers. This is just the way he is. He’s going to be great for the league. You know, in reality, I already know, knowing him, he’s going to be a lot calmer than I am. He’s great hyping people up in a sales environment, but it’ll be interesting to see him during a game. I hope he’s crazy, but I’m not expecting it.” ESPN.com

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