UPDATE June 24, 3:39 am: The Atlanta Spirit, the ownership group for the Hawks, denied the report that a deal is close, according to the Associated Press:
The Atlanta Spirit issued a statement saying “we have spoken with a number of parties, but at this time, there is no deal in place, nor is there an exclusive negotiating agreement in place.” Hawks spokesman Arthur Triche said Thursday the team had no further comment.
Not sure how close they are, but there sure seems to be a lot of smoke for no fire.
June 23, 6:22 pm: A month ago reports surfaced that the Atlanta Hawks were on the verge of being sold to John Moores (the man in the process of selling the San Diego Padres). That deal fell apart, but in the mean time the Atlanta Spirit (the name of the ownership group) sold off the Atlanta Thrashers of the NHL, a franchise now on its way to Winnipeg.
Apparently the Spirit did not stop trying to sell the Hawks, too, and they are close to a deal again, according to Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated.
One of the sources confirmed that the sale is about to be consummated, but declined to identify the buyer.
The news was expected to come as a surprise to team officials of the Hawks, who were not aware a sale was imminent as they prepared for the NBA draft. SI.com learned of the sale hours before the draft, though the news is not expected to influence the Hawks’ decision-making during the draft.
The buyer may be Moores, the two sides were not exclusively negotiating but may have kept talking, or it could be a different group entirely. Either way, new ownership would likely mean big changes for the Hawks.