Atlanta Hawks Moving to St. Louis -- Peter Vecsey Says So.

Gateway to a rumor.

Figures that somebody had to rain on Danny Ferry's parade....

The rumor comes from Peter Vecsey, one of my all-time snark favorites from back when he had a national column in the USA Today (yes, I am old).

Vecsey was responding to twitter account that was hounding him on his take about Orlando not trading Dwight to the Nets already. (read the entire back and forth for some context)


Less of a thoughtful tweet on the state of Hawks ownership and more of a swat at an annoying (to Vecsey) tweeter. Obviously, Hawks Nation caught in the crossfire.

Still, it brought to the front the fine research that Phil Foley did at SBN Atlanta last year when the Hawks briefly went through their sell the team phase last summer. A reminder:

However, under the terms of the new bond agreement, the Hawks cannot leave Philips Arena for at least seven years even if they pay off the bonds in their entirety. If the Hawks do leave, there's a $75 million "early termination penalty" that the Spirit or the new owners that want a team elsewhere would be socked with.

Now, there's a common misconception out there that the Hawks can't move until the bonds are paid off in 2028. That's simply not true.

Yes, the Hawks can not leave until they pay off the arena's bonds, or they'll have to pay that pesky little penalty.

But the Spirit could theoretically pay off the remaining $123.5 million in bonds off tomorrow and the Hawks could leave, but they cannot leave until the 2018-19 season at earliest without also forking over another $75 million in addition to the $123.5 million or so left remaining on the bonds.

Another year has gone by and the number may have dropped a little, but even with litigation and negotiation, as the Real MC reminded, that is a big chunk of change to fork over to move out of town.

Is it possible -- as Billy Knight always reminded, "It's possible. Anything is possible.", but it doesn't seem likely.

Exit Question: Seriously concerned about Vecsey's tweet or blowing it off?

UPDATE: Vescey says, "It's a joke!" and laughs as saying that the Dan Patrick show fell for it. Glad we treated it with all the seriousness it deserved, but good to know the facts about the lease and bonds in case someone "jokes" about this subject again.

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