As the NBA Draft approaches, and rumors of Josh Smith leaving and either nothing or something coming up permeates the virtual Hawks Nation, why not toss in another interesting wrinkle: The Atlanta Hawks being sold.
Says SI's Ian Thomsen:
The Atlanta Hawks are on the verge of being sold, two league sources told SI.com Thursday.
One of the sources confirmed that the sale is about to be consummated, but declined to identify the buyer.
The news was expected to come as a surprise to team officials of the Hawks, who were not aware a sale was imminent as they prepared for the NBA draft. SI.com learned of the sale hours before the draft, though the news is not expected to influence the Hawks' decision-making during the draft.
The Hawks ownership group last month sold the Atlanta Thrashers to a group that will relocate the franchise to Winnipeg next season. The Hawks owners have spent the last two to three years seeking minority investors in the NBA team.
Nobody knows about it? Wow, that's quite a secret to tell--I know who to go to when I want to say something but need to keep it in the vault: The Atlanta Spirit Group
Exit Question: What kind of owner do you want to replace the ASG? Arthur Blank type? Corporate entity type like Nintendo? Another group of investors which may include some local celebs?
Exit Question Bonus: What's the first thing you want the new ownership group to do when they take over, assuming there is an actual sale, and all?
UPDATE: Per Tim Tucker, one of the best investigative reporters the AJC ever had, ASG's Bruce Levenson has issued a denial of SI's claims.
UPDATE: From the desk of the Atlanta Hawks:
"As we have stated for an extended period of time, we engaged an investment banker to assist us in looking for investors for the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena operating rights. We have spoken with a number of parties, but at this time, there is no deal in place, nor is there an exclusive negotiating agreement in place. We will have no further comment at this time."