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Complicated Ownership structure has drawn out Atlanta Hawks sale process

The Atlanta Hawks reportedly hit the open market on Monday many months removed from this summer's controversy. What has held up the process?

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

In a lot of ways the racially charged controversy that engulfed the Atlanta Hawks this summer feels like it was a year ago. Under the guidance of CEO Steve Koonin, the franchise has set about rebuilding trust within the Atlanta community while the players and coaches are off to one of the best starts in franchise history.

Still if you look hard enough, the cloud of the controversy remains and it continues to hang over the franchise. A report surfaced last week that 100 percent of the team would officially go on sale Monday although a group of the current owners hope to remain involved after the sale.

Why did it take so long for the franchise to hit the market? Koonin told the New York Times that Atlanta's current complicated ownership structure was the reason for the delay.

Koonin attributes the drawn-out process to a complicated ownership structure. Levenson and two associates control just over 50 percent. A consortium of Atlantans holds a 32 percent stake, while a faction based in New York maintains the rest.

"It's a very complex and very big transaction," he said.

There are plenty of examples over the years of this ownership group struggling to find common ground. From the Joe Johnson trade to this current controversy, the dysfunction of Atlanta's current ownership group has played a huge part.

According to the article, the City of Atlanta would prefer the new ownership to be local and has assisted in lining up potential suitors. Where the new owner resides is less important to Koonin as long as they are committed to and understand the city of Atlanta.