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Hawks sale falls apart, team taken off market. Sorry Hawks fans.

Nov 4, 2011, 6:32 PM EDT

Alex Meruelo AP

To Hawks fans hoping for a new ownership to breathe new life into a franchise seemingly stuck in the middle, we’re sorry to pass along this news.

The sale of the Hawks to Alex Meruelo has been scuttled — something rumored for a few weeks around concerns about Meruelo’s finances — and now the Atlanta Spirit ownership group has taken the team off the market, reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

The agreement between Meruelo and current Hawks owner Atlanta Spirit Group, signed in early August and contingent on NBA approval, was terminated by mutual agreement Friday….

The Spirit says its current plan is to hold on to the franchise indefinitely. “The Atlanta Hawks are no longer for sale,” (Spirit group leader Bruce) Levenson said in a statement. “We’re excited to remain as owners of the Hawks and are committed to building on our string of four straight playoff appearances.”

The Spirit ownership group has the reputation of fighting amongst itself. It does approve odd things like giving Joe Johnson more money than LeBron James. Still it’s a struggle. If the basketball side of the business wants to make a decision it has to lobby and politic to get enough of the owners on their side. And for now, that odd system will continue.

Which means a team that is good — they’ve made the second round of the playoffs the last two years — but not really good enough to challenge for a ring will pretty much stay as they are.

Sorry Hawks fans. It doesn’t bode well for the future. (Although I have to think if another suitor comes along, the Spirit will listen.)

  1. flyerscup2010 - Nov 5, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    at least thet don’t own the thrashers anymore. if they’re terrible basketball owners, they were at least twice as bad for the thrashers. hockey never had a chance to succeed in atlanta because the owners didn’t care enough to grow it. they treated the thrashers like a vanity team much like a celebrity owner of an arena football team would…except they’re not symbolic minority owners, they’re the controlling interest in both teams. it’s not dissimilar to comcast subordinating the sixers to the flyers…the difference is that they still paid a ton of money for players and tried to run a good operation, they just had no interest in promoting the team or the sport in a town that has ceased to be a basketball town ever since villanova decided to destroy what the big 5 once was.

    • craigw24 - Nov 5, 2011 at 1:25 PM

      Does that mean the Hawks are officially taking the place of Donald Sterling??

  2. therealhtj - Nov 5, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    the proposed sale ended with Meruelo saying “You guaranteed Joe Johnson WHAT???????????”

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