Author: Kurt Helin

Grant Hill

Report: Grant Hill, Bryan Colangelo just two of many trying to buy Atlanta Hawks


Things seem to be picking up steam in the sale of the Atlanta Hawks, in part because all three different current ownership groups — who often fought amongst themselves for power and with that hindered the franchise — have agreed to sell. Someone or some group can buy 100 percent of the team.

A couple of those interested have some big NBA name recognition — Grant Hill and former Suns and Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo.

Over at the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Chris Vivlamore laid out some of the rumored interested parties in buying the team.

* Jason Levian. The former Memphis Grizzlies CEO left the organization in May. He is a co-owner of the MLS franchise D.C. United.

* Steve Kaplan: The Los Angeles-based investor joined Robert Pera’s group as a limited investor to purchase the Memphis Grizzlies. He has reportedly made attempts to buy baseball’s San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers in recent years.

* Sheldon Adelson: The billionaire businessman is the chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation.

* Byran Colangelo: The former President and CEO of the Toronto Raptors. The son of Jerry Colangelo, he was the NBA’s 2005 and 2007 Executive of the Year.

* Grant Hill: The former NBA player and current analyst joined Antony Ressler and Bruce Karsh with a $1.2 billion failed bid to by the Los Angeles Clippers. Hill deflected questions about his interest in the Hawks during a recent segment on NBA TV.

There are others interested as well from previous reports: Dikembe Mutombo, Chris Webber, entertainment lawyer Doug Davis, and Jesse Itzler, the rapper who has done some consulting work for the Hawks and is a regular at their games.

Either Hill or Colangelo would have to team with money men — like the guys above them on this list — to be able to afford it. However, there may be ownership groups willing to bring in Hill or Colangelo as the face of the group and let them run at least the basketball side of the operations. It is likely there will be a main money man with several of these people as minority partners.

There were tweeted reports from Bill Simmons of Grantland that some Seattle groups are interested in buying the Hawks and moving them.

I will tell you I have heard that there is almost zero chance of that happening. The NBA wants to keep a team in Atlanta, one of its key markets in the South. Think back to how hard Adam Silver worked to keep the Kings in Sacramento — he does not want to give up on a market that has not given up on the team. Atlanta has not, their attendance and television ratings have had big leaps this season as the Hawks have come together on the court and have the best record in the East.

Plus, remember that the NBA is very tight partners with Turner Broadcasting, which runs NBA TV, broadcasts Thursday showcase games on TNT (plus has the brilliant Inside the NBA) and also runs the Internet powerhouse Bleacher Report, which has heavy NBA content. Turner’s headquarters is in Atlanta, not far at all from Phillips Arena.

On top of that there are serious financial issues in trying to move the Hawks — there is a $75 million lease buyout right now plus the owners would have to pay off bonds used to renovate the arena. We’re talking a lot of cash added on top of an already steep sales price.

Which is to say, the Hawks aren’t leaving Atlanta.

The question is who will own them next in the city.

After Sixers beat Cavaliers, Joel Embiid has fun at LeBron’s expense on Twitter

2014 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot

He hasn’t even played a game yet and already Joel Embiid is a must follow on twitter. Remember last summer when he (jokingly) tried to recruit LeBron James to Philly?

Then Sunday night the Sixers beat a depleted Cavaliers team, one without LeBron James or Kyrie Irving. After the win Embiid tweeted this:

You’ve got to love Embiid. It will be even better when he starts playing in actual games, which likely will not be until next season. Because the Sixers. But at least it’s a potential star with some personality, the league could use that.

Rumors: Knicks may go after Reggie Jackson this summer, or no one of consequence

Phoenix Suns v Oklahoma City Thunder

J.R. Smith and his $6.4 million owed next season are now gone. Amare Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani and a lot of other players come off the books as their contracts expire. After their moves this week the Knicks should have more than $25 million in cap space next summer to go after….

Maybe nobody?

That’s not really accurate, they will make a run at Marc Gasol for one, but the rumor is they are realistic about it and not optimistic they will land the Spanish big man. After that the names that come up are the Thunder’s Reggie Jackson and then, maybe nobody of note, reports Ian Begley of ESPN New York.

The feeling among some around the league is that the Knicks will instead target second- and third-tier free agents this summer and maintain some cap flexibility for the summer of 2016, when a free-agent class headlined by Kevin Durant becomes available.

One name to keep an eye on this summer is Reggie Jackson. NBA people expect the Knicks to have interest in Jackson, who can test free agency this summer. Jackson likely will be a restricted free agent. But with Oklahoma City having obtained Dion Waiters, the club may not break the bank to retain Jackson.

Durant’s potential free agency is like LeBron James’ in 2010 in the sense that he is such a game changer every team that can will make sure it has cap space to offer him a max contract. If he were to leave Oklahoma City — and that is still a big “if,” the Thunder remain the odds on favorite to retain him — teams such as his home town Wizards, the Lakers and a host of others will join the Knicks in trying to land the top scorer in the game.

I don’t think the Knicks should be totally quiet in free agency and only swing for the fences, they need to spend a little on role players who fit the triangle system. That means smart veteran guys, unselfish guys, and some guys who can space the floor with their shot. Not everybody fits in their system.

But they do need another star to go next to Carmelo Anthony and they do need to keep enough money free to offer the max to Gasol or Durant or whomever else they are able to land down the line. If they strike out on the big names this summer, they may very well keep most of their powder dry looking ahead to 2016.

PBT’s Tuesday Night NBA Winners/Losers: How ’bout them Pistons?

Brandon Jennings

Every night the NBA can be a cold hard reality — there are winners, there are losers. It’s the nature of the game. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to bring you the best and worst of the NBA each week night. Here’s what you missed while watching what CNN plans to run if the world comes to an end

source:  Detroit Pistons. You could just see this team growing and improving over the course of the game. In the fist quarter, especially when the Spurs bench unit came in, the Pistons looked confused on offense and just flat out lost on defense. But as the game wore on the Pistons started to figure things out, Stan Van Gundy made his adjustments, and the Pistons’ confidence grew. Andre Drummond keyed the Pistons’ third quarter run where they took the lead and he was a beast all night, finishing with 20 points and 17 rebounds. D.J. Augustin added 19 off the bench, while Greg Monroe looked comfortable on his way to 17 points on 10 shots.

Still, it looked like the Spurs late-game execution was going to win the day for the NBA champs, until that execution let them down and Brandon Jennings took advantage with the shot of the night.

source:  Suns late game execution. Phoenix was sloppy at the start of their game against Milwaukee, and when the Bucks went on a 16-5 run they were putting on a fun dunking show. But when the game got tight late the Suns executed better — they scored on 9 of 10 possessions when the game was on the line, until the Bucks had to start intentionally fouling. (Stat via’s John Schuhmann.) When the game was on the line the Suns guards were great, Gerald Green, Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic all made plays. But the big star and the guy that hit the dagger was Markieff Morris, who finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds. Quality road win for the Suns against an athletic and tough Bucks team.

source:  Bucks dunks. Milwaukee may have lost, but man are they fun to watch. Both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brandon Knight had big dunks in this one that are worth watching again.

Pacers’ C.J. Watson fined $5,000 for his second flop of season

Chicago Bulls v Indiana Pacers

Due to injury C.J. Watson didn’t even play in his first NBA game this season until after Thanksgiving.

But it didn’t take him long to pick up his second flopping penalty from the league. The NBA fined Watson $5,000 for the flop above from Monday night’s game against Utah. Watson is the first NBA player to get a fine this season for flopping, he had been warned previously for another flopping incident.

Big man Rudy Gobert came up behind Watson looking for a rebound and there is some mild contact but Watson sells it — he launches forward setting a broad jump record on this flop. To say he embellished this is to undersell the word embellished.

That said, this fine doesn’t hurt much — the fine covers 0.3 percent of Watson’s salary for the year. The money is not going to keep players from doing this in the future.