HoopsHype Owners rumors

September 20, 2014 Updates
September 18, 2014 Updates

The guy who's been hailed as a BEST commissioner is throwing his SUPPORT behind the guy who's being trashed as the WORST ... with Adam Silver telling TMZ Sports he believes Roger Goodell is still doing "great" at his job. We spoke with the NBA Commish in NYC Wednesday -- nearly 5 months after he was praised for his handling of the Donald Sterling situation -- and asked him how he felt about the way Goodell is handling all of the scandals in the NFL. "He's doing the best he can under difficult circumstances," Silver said ... "He's been a great commissioner so far and he'll work his way through these issues." TMZ.com

September 17, 2014 Updates

Within the past year, Atlanta Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. approached fellow co-owner Bruce Levenson about selling the franchise, two people familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports. Levenson wasn't interested in selling but is going to do that now, and with NBA now in a seller's market, Gearon will be in position to cash in on his investment — despite financials losses in the past decade. Gearon understands that if he wants to capitalize, he needs to sell more than just his stake. The Hawks are worth more when a majority of the team is sold. So for the second time in the past few months, an ownership group mired in a controversy over the use of racial language could stand to make a significant amount of money selling the team. In the case of the Hawks, how they got here is a decade of poor judgment, mismanagement and a power play among owners. USA Today Sports

Ferry wasn't fired but was issued a significant fine, two people told USA TODAY Sports, but even with that punishment and two apologetic statements, Ferry announced late last week he was taking an indefinite leave of absence. Ferry made a serious mistake when he uttered racially insensitive comments about Deng, even if they were from a report provided a former front-office executive from another team. In interviews with multiple people who have ties to Levenson, Gearon and Ferry, an unflattering depiction of Hawks management, including ownership, has emerged. USA Today Sports

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

Steve Kyler: I have heard there is no shortage of suitors to buy the team. I had a league source tell me there is a billionaire hedge fund guy in New York that seems poised to out-bid, but we’ll see. Until then, Coach Bud is running the show. I think that will change fairly soon after an owner is in place. There isn’t much that needs to be done with the roster, in the short term. Basketball Insiders

September 12, 2014 Updates
September 11, 2014 Updates
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

Under California law, Sterling had 10 business days from Aug. 13 – the date an intermediate appellate court summarily rejected Sterling’s two petitions for the $2 billion sale of the Clippers be halted or reversed – to petition the California Supreme Court with the same request. It would have been a long shot request, to be sure, but Sterling was entitled to give it a try. By allowing the deadline to pass without a petition to the California Supreme Court, Sterling effectively acquiesces to Ballmer’s ownership of the team. Sports Illustrated

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