The Atlanta Hawks introduced the new ownership group on Thursday, in a press conference that featured new principal owner Tony Ressler, partner Grant Hill, head coach (and future head of basketball operations) Mike Budenholzer, and CEO Steve Koonin.
Tony Ressler, new principal owner of the Hawks, opened up the press conference, expressing his pleasure to have taken over the franchise, saying, "Obviously, we are just so excited to be here, we couldn't be more excited to be in Atlanta, we couldn't be more excited to be owners of this special Hawks franchise."
Ressler made it clear that the Hawks were a piece of the community, and deserved stable ownership that always did the best that they could, to make reasonable decisions, and to try to bring the city a championship.
Grant Hill also expressed his pleasure, saying, "I am so excited and thrilled to be in this position. We know it has been a lot of hard work to get to this point. We also recognize there is a lot more to be done, and we look forward to the opportunity to be a steward of this franchise. This team belongs to this community, to this fan base, and to this city. We look at that as a huge responsibility, but we welcome that opportunity, [we] welcome that challenge."
Ressler reiterated that having Mike Budenholzer and Steve Koonin leading the way made the decision of buying the team easier, and how they will rely on the duo in decision-making, saying, "All of us, as investors, owners, are going to bring some business and some basketball knowledge, but there should be no confusion ... we have a superb management team in Bud and Steve, and that's what we're buying into."
Hill expressed that he has seen the capability of the Hawks franchise, and the opportunity that lies ahead, saying, "I have always felt there was a tremendous upside with this franchise. Tremendous opportunity to really resonate with the community and the fan base here, and I think that's starting to happen, and our job is to continue to support these guys as they continue to lead these guys into the future."
Grant Hill also noted that there is no reason that Atlanta shouldn't be an immediate option and destination for free agents, and strongly declared, "We want to make this place the premiere sports franchise in all of sports."
On an important note, Ressler said that they have a handshake agreement with Mike Budenholzer to add the distinction of team president to his current title of head coach, as well as a similar pact with Wes Wilcox to become the team's general manager. Also, with approximately 15 partners in the group, Ressler made it known that the final say would always land with him as "approximately" a 50 percent owner of the franchise.
It was one press conference, and the group led by Ressler, Hill and others has owned the team for 24 hours, but based on what we have seen so far, it appears the franchise is in good hands moving forward.