Archives For Bruce Levenson

After Bruce Levenson announced he would be selling his stake in the Atlanta Hawks back in September, the franchise’s future has been in flux. Former Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins has interest in buying the team, as well as former NBA star Chris Webber. The mayor of Atlanta has said he would like the team to be sold by the end of the year, which means we may see a resolution to the ownership issues in the coming months.

Professional sports franchises have sold for astronomical amounts recently, so many have wondered how much the Hawks would sell for. A post from MidLevelExceptional.com stated that Atlanta could be the franchise that bucks this recent spike in price, using low attendance as a reason for a lower price.

When it comes to NBA franchises and their price tags, there are two recent examples when it comes to buying and selling. The Milwaukee Bucks sold for $550 million back in April, after being valued at just $405 million by Forbes. The Clippers have just recently sold to professional hype man Steve Ballmer, and their price reached a record  $2 billion. They were valued at just $575 million, which shows how overvalued franchises have become in professional sports.

So will the Hawks reverse the trend?

According to Sports Business Journal, it doesn’t seem likely.The SBJ is reporting that the Hawks will sell for a minimum of $750 million, and that price has the chance to rise to the $1 billion mark. Valued at just $425 million, that would mean the trend would indeed continue with Atlanta carrying the baton.

Despite low attendance and being a nationally maligned team, there are a few things to remember when it comes to the sale of the Hawks. First off, there are only 30 teams in the NBA. That means only 30 individuals in the world can call themselves a majority owner in the NBA. Secondly, the league is growing both financially and globally. They recently signed a gigantic nine-year, $24 billion TV deal with Turner and ESPN, giving the league an unprecedented amount of money for the right to broadcast their games. There is real value to owning a franchise in the NBA.

It is important to remember that this is not the same ol’ Hawks. This team is starting to make real strides both on and off the court. With Mike Budenholzer as head coach, the system is aesthetically pleasing to watch, and should soon start to attract more fans. With the combination of two of the top 30 players in the league and legitimate depth, the Hawks could be in for a special season. They also are installing some state of the art arena operations — like a new scoreboard and player introductions.

As potential owners start to be revealed, and the ownership problem begins to end, you can expect the price to be on par with the recent purchases in professional sports. Although they may not be going for $2 billion, $750 million is certainly nothing to scoff at.

Finally, the infamous “Deng scouting report” has been found.

Working jointly, WSB’s Zach Klein and the AJC’s Chris Vivlamore — both of whom have been on top of this story — obtained the scouting report that Ferry was supposedly reading from.

While the audio suggests that Ferry was on specifically reading off of the report, the scouting report on Deng makes the African comment that Danny Ferry referenced over the conference call.

While the comments being used over the conference call show a bit of a problem with the team’s front office, Ferry is somewhat vindicated by the report. It shows that even if he was speaking off the cuff during the call, the words were not his own. It does not make the situation too much better, but it definitely helps out Ferry’s credibility in that he wasn’t lying when he said the comments are from a scouting report.

Is that enough to help Ferry keep the job that he is clinging to? Probably not, but this does help Ferry in that if he has to go, then the entire ownership group is going to have to go out that door with him.

As obtained by the AJC’s Chris Vivlamore, the audio from the now infamous conference call paints a bit of a different picture in this whole saga.

The main point: Ferry’s alleged “read off a report” excuse is now certainly out of the window.

After discussing New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, the subject quickly changed to then free agent Luol Deng, who Ferry described as “having a little African in him”, later suggested that Deng’s perceived attributes are just a counterfeit of the real player.

While many, including Adam Silver, thought that Ferry’s in-house discipline was enough when it was believed that he was reading off of a prepared, third-party scouting report, Ferry keeping his job at this point is certainly outrageous. That might also go for the rest of the parties on the call, as they endorsed the culture in which a comment like this could be said. That includes the man who recorded the call, Michael Gearon Jr, who as Adrian Wojnarowski described “is no whistle-blowing hero for racial justice, just as Ferry is no victim for falling into the trap.”

Silver: Ferry Should Not be Fired

Bo Churney —  September 10, 2014

From USA Today’s Sam Amick, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has commented that he does not think Ferry’s comments are a fire-able offense.

Silver said this to Amick in Spain, where he is watching the on-going FIBA World Cup tournament:

“The discipline of a team employee is typically determined by the team, and in this case the Hawks hired a prestigious Atlanta law firm to investigate the circumstances of Danny Ferry’s clearly inappropriate and unexpected remarks,” Silver said. “In my view, those comments, taken alone, do not merit his losing his job.

“It’s a question of context … These words, in this context, understanding the full story here, the existence of the scouting report, the fact that he was looking at the scouting report as a reference when he was making these remarks, what I’m saying is – and frankly my opinion — is that this is a team decision in terms of what the appropriate discipline is for their employee. But if I’m being asked my view, I’m saying that, based on what I know about the circumstances, I don’t think it’s a terminable offense.”

Ferry has been disciplined by the team, with Continue Reading…

It appears that former Atlanta Hawks great Dominique Wilkins is interested in becoming majority owner of the Atlanta Hawks. According to TMZ, Nique is interested in taking on a bigger role with the Hawks organization.

Multiple NBA sources tell us … Dominique is “extremely interested” in becoming the next owner of the Hawks — and has already been pre-approved for ownership by the NBA.

We’re told Wilkins — who has amassed his own small fortune over the years — has partnered up with a “very well-known businessman” who believes Wilkins would be the best person to lead the Hawks back to NBA glory.

The Hawks are searching for a new majority owner after an offensive email by, soon to be former, majority owner Bruce Levenson came to light.

Nique taking over as owner might be a match made in heaven for the Hawks. This is a franchise that has never fully recovered from the day they traded their lone Atlanta superstar. No former Hawks player has been embraced the way Nique has been in Atlanta.

If this does happen, it would be a bit of a promotion for the all time great. He is currently a member of the organization as the Vice President of Basketball, and is also the local broadcast’s color commentator during games.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Or at least, that seems to be the case every time the Hawks do something positive.

After the Hawks’ loss in seven games to the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the playoffs, I wrote about how the shift in the manners of the front office had put the Hawks on the right path in building a bright future.

“Despite a new head coach and a myriad of injuries that nearly sank the team, what the Hawks showed this season is that they really have an identity and a positive one at that. GM Danny Ferry started forging this identity last season, but with what is now mostly “his personnel”, the fans started to notice more of a team forming instead of just the “collection of individuals” that past squads resembled.

And naturally, when the team is better and there seems to be a future to be optimistic about, the fans will start showing up in greater numbers. The Hawks have usually done well in filling up for playoff games, but something about the crowds during the Indiana series seemed different. The fans were louder and more prideful, creating an atmosphere that fired up the Atlanta players for the series. Continue Reading…

In a surprise announcement by the NBA this morning, Hawks controlling owner Bruce Levenson will sell his share of the Hawks after Levenson self-reported an offensive email from 2012.

Adam Silver’s comments from the NBA’s press release:

“Following Bruce Levenson notifying the league office this July of his August 2012 email, the NBA commenced an independent investigation regarding the circumstances of Mr. Levenson’s comments.

Prior to the completion of the investigation, Mr. Levenson notified me last evening that he had decided to sell his controlling interest in the Atlanta Hawks. As Mr. Levenson acknowledged, the views he expressed are entirely unacceptable and are in stark contrast to the core principles of the National Basketball Association. He shared with me how truly remorseful he is for using those hurtful words and how apologetic he is to the entire NBA family – fans, players, team employees, business partners and fellow team owners – for having diverted attention away from our game.

I commend Mr. Levenson for self-reporting to the league office, for being fully cooperative with the league and its independent investigator, and for putting the best interests of the Hawks, the Atlanta community, and the NBA first. Continue Reading…