The Atlanta Hawks are having a terrific season—everyone’s noticed that by now.
What we sometimes forget is that they’re for sale. That development was announced before the season, following a flurry of terrible press and a latent admission from the organization that they had failed to properly market the team to their city.
The latest news, from ESPN’s Marc Stein, reveals a number of potential buyers for the team. This list includes Mark Rachesky (chairman of Lionsgate Entertainment), a group including legendary Braves slugger Hank Aaron, another featuring Grant Hill and Bryan and Jerry Colangelo, and with yet another expected bid coming from Hawks icon — and current television announcer — Dominique Wilkins.
Stein also reports that the price range for the Hawks has entered some pretty high-up air: at least one of the parties is said to be prepared to drop $900 million for the franchise.
This, of course, follows the trend of NBA team sales — the Los Angeles Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks both sold for figures that were surprising and eye-popping at the time. The last Forbes valuation of the Hawks had them at $425 million (in 2014), but that was before any NBA franchises had been sold in a while. The Bucks sale, and especially the Clippers sale, have set a new, soaring precedent for the worth of teams.
Stein’s report also suggests that the team might find a new arena, potentially one in the Atlanta suburbs. This would be in line with the Braves also eyeing a move out of the city proper, in 2017.
The elephant in the room when all these monstrous numbers emerge is what the players, and their union leader Michele Roberts, must think. Owners are clearly raking it in, and you can expect the players to remind them of that when the current collective bargaining agreement is up for renegotiation in 2017.
— John Wilmes