NY Daily News: Hmmm...How about contracting Atlanta?

Gulp.

More after the jump:

A day old, but didn't want to take away from the 5pm start of the Suns matchup, but still...I might finally be worried.

From the desk of Mitch Lawrence: 

- In Atlanta, where the Hawks lose upwards of $20 million per season, and are seen as one of several prime candidates for the contraction chopping block, one of the NBA's more dysfunctional ownership groups signed off on a five-year, $60 million extension for center Al Horford. The deal for Horford, the heart and soul of the team, came only four months after the Hawks, saddled by attendance woes and an expensive lease at Philips Arena, shelled out a franchise-record $120 million forJoe Johnson.

 

To be fair, the piece itself is laying out somewhat of the case for David Stern taking a look at contraction as a means to lower overall salary paid out, and how these pesky extensions by teams wanting to retain their younger stars with franchises that are losing money are contradicting such a notion.

Even more doom/gloom for the Atlanta faithful:

Not that there isn't a solid argument to be made for contraction, according to league financial experts. Along with Memphis and Atlanta, New OrleansMinnesota and Milwaukee are other teams with a history of money woes and would be candidates to face the contraction ax.

And finally, the head-shot:

"The teams the league would have to look at (for contraction) are your perennial money losers, the ones that have no fan base, and play in cities where there are no corporate headquarters," said a league finance source.

Uh-oh.

Below is a list of the TV Market Rankings for cities (partial--hit the link for full):

 

1 New York, NY

2 Los Angeles, CA

3 Chicago, IL

4 Philadelphia, PA

5 San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA

6 Boston, MA

7 Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX

8 Washington, DC

9 Atlanta, GA

10 Detroit, MI

11 Houston, TX

12 Seattle-Tacoma, WA

13 Tampa-St Petersburg-Sarasota, FL

14 Minneapolis - St. Paul, MN

15 Cleveland-Akron, OH

16 Phoenix, AZ

17 Miami - Ft. Lauderdale, FL

18 Denver, CO

19 Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, CA

20 Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, FL

21 Pittsburgh, PA

22 St. Louis, MO

23 Portland, OR

24 Baltimore, MD

25 Indianapolis, IN

26 San Diego, CA

27 Hartford-New Haven, CT

28 Charlotte, NC

29 Raleigh-Durham, NC

30 Nashville, TN

31 Milwaukee, WI

32 Cincinnati, OH

33 Kansas City, KS-MO

34 Columbus, OH

35 Greenville-Spartanburg, SC-Asheville, NC

36 Salt Lake City, UT

37 San Antonio, TX

38 Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, MI

39 West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, FL

40 Birmingham, AL

41 Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, VA

42 New Orleans, LA

43 Memphis, TN

44 Buffalo, NY

45 Oklahoma City, OK

46 Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem, NC

47 Harrisburg-Lancaster-Lebanon-York, PA

48 Providence, RI-New Bedford, MA

49 Albuquerque-Santa Fe, NM

50 Louisville, KY

51 Jacksonville, FL

52 Las Vegas, NV

 

Surely, the league wouldn't abandon the #9 ranked TV market, would they? Before you answer, take a look at #12.

Nervous yet?

I contend there are many Hawks fans that don't come to game due to cost and the fact that the city is an event driven culture (Popular myth is that the Hawks do very well on TV). Folks just won't show up cause you have a professional shingle out front....you have to be the place to be...and that goes for all the sports and entertainment in the city. In the Hawks case, you have to have not just a great team, but maybe THE team or even just have a huge draw (like the Namesake) to attain the rank of place to be and get people in the doors.

Whatever the reasons (and they have been bandied about for years) the rumor remains and is highlighted by the Lawrence piece in the NYDN. This Hawk has a target on it.

Exit Question(s): Do you think the Hawks are contractible, how would you feel, and would you be a fan if they moved to another city?

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