It’s over. Finally, mercifully, and long since it should have been, it’s over. The Atlanta Hawks have their ownership situation resolved. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution who secured the exclusive interview this weekend:
Meruelo (pronounced mur-rel-o) said some members of the Spirit group will maintain minority ownership positions but that he will own more than 50 percent and control ownership decisions. He would not be more specific about the size of his stake and would not divulge the price he has agreed to pay for it.
But he said, “I will be in complete control of the team.”
via L.A. businessman buying majority stake in Hawks | ajc.com.
Meruelo will become the first Hispanic majority owner in the NBA, another sign of the diversity that exists within the league, even if progress has been slow-going. Meruelo won’t become official owner until the Board of Governors approves him, and considering that it seems like getting them in the room is pulling teeth at this point, there’s no telling when that will be in the midst of a lockout. But when he is approved, Meruelo has pledged a hands-on approach, which can be good or bad, but it’s what the Hawks need at this point.
The sale will bring resolution to a conflict that’s dragged on for years within the Hawks ownership group which fractured irrevocably. It’s honestly been a miracle that they were able to re-sign Joe Johnson to that deal everyone thinks was moronic, considering their dysfunction. With one owner, hopefully they’ll be able to get some leadership going forward in terms of a crowded cap situation and a fanbase that seems to become more disillusioned and acerbic towards the team the further they go in the playoffs. For starters, not having half the building rooting for the visiting playoff team would be a great start.
Meruelo owns a pizza chain, then branched out into various interests. He told the AJC that he has no plans to relocate the team, a valid concern based off of Meruelo’s Los Angeles roots.
The second round was supposed to be when things got exciting. Instead, the San Antonio Spurs put on an absolute clinic at home, blowing out the Oklahoma City Thunder, 124-92 to take a 1-0 series lead.
Just about everything went in for San Antonio, particularly for LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, who combined for 63 points. How dominant were they?
Aldridge in particular got anything he wanted against the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s stars were quiet, with Kevin Durant scoring just 16 points and Russell Westbrook 14. San Antonio controlled the game from the start and Oklahoma City never recovered from the opening punch.
It’s hard to imagine Durant and Westbrook are this ineffective again, and hopefully the rest of this series will be a little more competitive. But the Spurs did what the Spurs do, and did nothing to shake the feeling that they’re the favorites to win the west, now that Stephen Curry‘s status is unknown.
ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.
Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.
Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.
The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.
Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.