NBA AM: Selling The Hawks Too?
Hawks Up Next?: With the sale of the Philadelphia 76ers awaiting league approval, the Atlanta Hawks could be next.
It’s been speculated for some time that the Hawks were kicking the tires on a possible sale of the team, although sources close to the situation said it wouldn’t be an outright sale, rather a new partner joining the current ownership group.
The Hawks current owners were tied up in court proceeding for several years with former partner Steve Belkin and finally reached closure and settlement with Belkin and have been actively looking for a partner to replace him and his money in the group for a while.
Chris Vivlamore and Tim Tucker of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution are reporting that a potential investor/buyer is evaluating the Hawks financials and that anew face could be part of the team very soon.
Atlanta Spirit, LLC recently sold off their interest in the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers who relocated to Winnipeg after the sale.
Sources familiar with the talks say the team actively engaged with several investors, but a few candidates surfaced with interest in a larger piece of the team than originally planned, and that’s where things stand today.
There are a number of issues facing the Hawks going forward, most notably a tough salary cap position and a large amount of long term over valued contracts.
The Hawks also struggle to draw at the box office on a night to night basis, mainly because of horrendous traffic conditions in and around downtown Atlanta, which most locals opt to avoid if at all possible.
The Hawks were ranked 22nd in the NBA last season in attendance despite winning 44 games and coming off a playoff appearance.
Much like the Sixers, long term contract debt and sketchy attendance will likely drive the end purchase price lower than some transactions have closed in the past.
Sources close to the situation say current ownership will remain part of the team after any transaction closes.
It’s Not All About The Money: So Deron Williams of the New Jersey Nets signs a deal in Turkey for next season after pocketing some $14.94 million last season before taxes and fees. Orlando’s Dwight Howard is fielding offers from China after having pocketed $16.647 million before taxes and fees last season and word is Lakers star Kobe Bryant could have himself a deal in Turkey too.
These guys aren’t broke, in fact Kobe Bryant has earned more than $196 million from his 15 seasons with the LA Lakers and sources say he’s invested his cash wisely, so for these guys it’s not about cash; at least not completely about cash.
Why are some of the biggest names in the NBA risking injury to join up with an International team?
Most of it, especially in say Dwight Howard’s case, it’s about globalizing his brand. Howard is already one of the league’s highest paid endorsers and a couple of paid months in China, is simply going to up his value and his appeal.
Consider that Stephon Marbury has become a huge basketball star and is earning major money in China and he can’t get a sniff from a NBA team anymore, imagine how big Dwight Howard becomes globally if he pulls on a Beijing Ducks, Shanghai Sharks or a Guangdong Southern Tigers jersey for a few months.
Adidas would be doing back flips.
Kobe Bryant has a huge endorsement deal with Turkish Airlines, what’s that deal worth if he pulls on a Beşiktaş Kola Turka jersey and kicks it in Istanbul for a few months?
If you talk to any of the well-known trainers or development coaches about adjusting to life in the NBA, they all say it’s important to develop a rhythm to your workload. Players like Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant are used to ramping up their bodies in September and October and going full tilt through April, May and in Kobe’s case late June.
When players get out of their rhythm that is typically when nagging injuries surface, so for guys like Howard, Bryant and even Deron Williams a 32 game International season is an appealing way to stay active, not only in keeping their bodies and games sharp, but there are huge off the court marketing benefits that go along with it.
So when you hear that a guy that’s earned $196 million is looking at intentional roster spots, it’s not grab for some lose cash while the NBA and its player fight it out in the board room, it’s about using idle time to develop their brands and too stay active.
NBA Fines Two Teams: File this under the category of “don’t make me whack your knuckles” – Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski via Twitter is reporting that the NBA has levied fines on two unnamed NBA teams for comments about Players to the press during the lockout.
The NBA made it clear to its teams and staffers that there was to be no discussion of the lockout, locked out NBA teams or commentary about the labor situation from anyone other than the NBA.
The NBA has always had a policy that there would be one voice on the labor situation and it would come from the league office in New York.
The league has made it clear that contact with locked out players or breaks in the ranks in the press would result in a $1 million fine for each instance and that if an egregious violation occurs a team could be stripped of a first round draft pick.
The NBA and its Players are expected to have an informal bargaining session on Friday, which has been characterized as more of a mapping and planning session for future labor talks.
The NBA Owners’ position is that the expired labor system is fundamentally broken on several levels and they want to craft a new labor system that guarantees some level of profit for each team regardless of performance, while also leveling the playing field for every team.
The NBA Owners’ stance has been that winning or losing should not be about how much money a team or owner can afford to spend, that success should come from smart management of resources, good players and good coaching and that tougher salary restrictions are a key part of that.
The NBA Players position is that the NBA is coming off one of its best seasons in the modern era, revenues are at an all-time high and that there is no need to make massive changes. The Players last offer conceded some $110 million per season in givebacks in the revenue split and they offered to modify some aspects of the current system, which they believe still works.
The NBA is in its 21st day of lockout.
The key dates to know are the third week of September, on or about September 15th. The NBA and its Players would need roughly a week to ratify any new labor deal and resume business operations.
NBA Training Camps are currently scheduled for the first week of October, with the start of the regular season scheduled for November 1st.
Failing to have a deal by September 26th puts Training Camps and early pre-season games in jeopardy, meaning both sides have 67 days to reach a deal.
Keep Working KJ: Back in April in what was arguably one of the most dramatic ‘hail mary’ plays in the NBA, Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson won over the NBA’s Board of Governors keeping his city’s team, the Sacramento Kings, in town for at least one more season.
As part of the NBA’s decision to give it another go in Sacramento, Mayor Johnson and his staff had to deliver plans for a new arena before March of 2012. Those plans had to include a funding and construction plan and had to be as close to done as possible come March, however Major Johnson has no plans to wait until the 11th hour again.
“There is a sense of urgency,” Johnson told Loretta Kalb told the Sacramento Bee. “We know the deadline is coming in March 2012. We don’t want to wait until 2012.”
“We will look at a menu of options, both public and private.”
Johnson who appointed a task force to oversee funding and development of a new downtown arena complex was given a 100-day timeline to develop a proposal.
Sources close to this situation say the NBA’s stance at the time was trying to relocate a team during what seemed (and ultimately was) an inevitable lockout would have been too daunting a task for the Kings in their bid to move to Anaheim for next season.
The one-year reprieve granted by the NBA allows not only Sacramento to make one last stab at a new building, but also allows for more planning and structure to a possible move.
The NBA and the Kings say they are all in in Sacramento, but if a deal does not surface for a new building come March, the team will be allowed to move and waiting an additional year likely saved the Maloof family $30 to $40 million in relocation costs.
Keep working Mayor Johnson, the Kings are still your team to lose.
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