Author: Kurt Helin

Image (1) hawks_logo-thumb-250x134-11979-thumb-250x134-11981.gif for post 4050

Atlanta mayor says he has spoken to six potential buyers of Hawks


You knew there would be a long line of insanely rich people waiting to talk to Bruce Levenson after he announced he would sell his majority share of the Atlanta Hawks in the wake of controversial comments in an email. The racial turmoil around the team in the wake of Levenson’s email and GM Danny Ferry’s comments is not slowing potential suitors.

Those potential buyers may want to make nice with (and kiss up to) is Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. And Reed has a real interest here — the city of Atlanta owns the Phillips Arena where the Hawks play and he has already lost a hockey team in that building, he can’t afford to lose the Hawks.

Reed spoke with six potential new owners of the Hawks, he told the Associated Press.

Reed, who did not identify the prospective buyers, said whoever buys the team would have majority ownership. While Levenson owns 24 percent of the team, his Washington partner Ed Peskowitz has also agreed to sale his share, meaning that 50.1 percent of the team is available, according to the mayor…

“I have had conversations with no less than six prospective buyers,” Reed said. “All six of those prospective buyers will have to go through a process to be vetted by the NBA. That process is going to occur very quickly…”

In addition, Reed said the city will likely be willing to offer concessions to any new owner to ensure the Hawks commit to remaining in Atlanta for another 30 years. He said there could be as much as $150 million available after the city sells Turner Field, the current home of the Braves, though the mayor said that process has been held up by the baseball team’s refusal to negotiate terms for its departure.

He would not name the potential buyers. One guy who threw his hat in the ring was legendary Hawks player Dominique Wilkins (with a partner who has the cash), but there’s a lot of competition. I’d take a stab at coming up with names but I’m not as up on my hedge fund billionaires as I should be.

Whoever is chosen by Levenson to buy the team is going to have a lot of repairing of relationships to do in Atlanta, with season ticket holders and community members. He has to decide what to do with Ferry. The apparent culture of racism in the organization (or at least the perception of it) means a multi-year process is needed in that city.

Apparently such things are not deterring buyers.

Dwight Howard’s driver’s license in Florida suspended, he racked up 10 red light violations in Orlando

Detroit Pistons v Houston Rockets

Red lights don’t apply to Dwight Howard.

Or speed limits.

Or toll booths.

Well, they actually do. He just doesn’t think they do. Apparently.

Dwight Howard still has a home in Florida (remember he started his career with the Magic before forcing his way out of Orlando) and he still goes back there. Now he just can’t drive when he does because the state suspended his license. Why? That whole “red light” thing and actually paying your tickets. Reuters has the story (hat tip Larry Brown Sports).

The driver’s license of Houston Rockets eight-time All-Star center Dwight Howard has been suspended in Florida for his failure to pay a fine for running a red light, court records show.

Howard, who played for the NBA’s Orlando Magic from 2004 to 2012, racked up 10 tickets for running red lights while in the Orlando area.

He also has on his Orlando court record four speeding tickets, 12 citations for failing to pay highway tolls and one for failing to change his address on his license, all civil traffic infractions.

Dwight Howard behaving immaturely? Shocking. Who could have seen that coming? *cough*

For the record, that was a $285 fine Howard didn’t pay. Howard made $20.5 million last season.

Making that much money, Howard can afford a personal manager to stay on top of things like moving violations. And getting him one of those fast pass things for toll roads so he doesn’t get a citation when he blows through them. Actually, with all the tickets he picks up that may just be one person’s full time job.

Charles Barkley throws out turrible first pitch at Cubs game

Cincinnati Reds v Chicago Cubs

Well, it’s better than his golf swing. Barely.

Hall of Famer Charles Barkley threw out the first pitch at the Cubs game Tuesday night and… well, you can bet this is going to come up on Inside the NBA this season.

Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor turned 80 today. Enjoy some highlights.

Elgin Baylor

“Most of the time, I never knew what I was going to do until I did it. Sometimes when the ball went in, I couldn’t believe it myself.”
—Elgin Baylor (via Lakers Glory)

Elgin Baylor was the graceful player starting to play above the rim while the rest of the NBA was still in the 1960s.

That never won Baylor a title (the Lakers won the year after he retired) but it doesn’t change his impact on the NBA. He paved the way for Dr. J, who paved the way for today’s game.

He was also one of the first players who really sold tickets — home and road people came out to see him.

If you’ve never seen the Hall of Fame swingman play, here you go. There haven’t been many better.

And-1 Links: League Pass alert — Ben McLemore is the new Pizza Guy

Isaiah Thomas pizza guy
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Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• League Pass alert:

(For those of you confused, let me explain. One of the joys of the NBA League Pass that brings you all the NBA games is it uses local broadcasts, which means you get local commercials. Some of those are just classically bad. One of the League Pass regulars’ favorites — including mine — was Isaiah Thomas in Sacramento as the spokesman for Pizza Guy. Just great ads. Then Thomas went to Phoenix this summer. Now McLemore is the new Pizza Guy. This is big.)

• If you haven’t read the scouting report that got Danny Ferry in trouble, here you go.

• You know that whole week off the NBA is taking around the All-Star Break? It means every team has another one or two back-to-backs this year. That is not good for the game ($$ story).

• Nick Young’s girlfriend pop star Iggy Azalea is better at trick shots than you:

• Jamal Crawford got married this summer and Sir Mix-a-Lot performed at the wedding. What else did you expect?

• Former NBA player Keyon Dooling writes about the abuse he suffered as a child and his recovery. Powerful stuff.

Jalen Rose still has an issue with Chris Webber (and he talks about other stuff, too).

• Veteran Caron Butler wants to lead the young Pistons team this year.

• It’s hard to see a way that Greg Oden is back in the NBA anytime soon. If ever.

• If you missed it from last month, Adidas decorated the Great Wall of China for John Wall.

• The City of Charlotte is pumping in $33.5 million for arena upgrades. Because that’s what city funds should go for (*cough*).

• Former NBA player Jonny Flynn signed with the Italian team Orlandina Basket.

• Former NBA guard Sundiata Gaines signed with Sidigas Avellino in Italy.

• Devin Ebanks inked a contract with Herzliya of the Ligat HaAl.

• Chris Bosh enjoys his celebrity.