Tag: ownership

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Hawks fans’ long regional nightmare is over, Meruelo to become owner


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.

Report: 76ers may be sold in next few days

Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Three

Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg Media has the report:

The Philadelphia 76ers likely will be sold to a group led by Joshua Harris, a director at Apollo Global Management LLC, in the next few business days, two people familiar with the negotiations said.

Harris will pay about $280 million, according to one of the people, who were granted anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the sale publicly. Harris co-foundedApollo Management in 1990, and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and a master’s degree from the Harvard Business School.

Apollo went public in March.

Comcast-Spectacor, the holding company that owns the National Basketball Association team, said a month ago that it was exploring a sale.

The 76ers went .500 in the regular season last year, and fell in the first round of the playoff to the eventual conference champion Miami Heat. Obviously, this would be big news if it went down, especially since someone is apparently willing to purchase a franchise during a lockout that may last for a long time.

Joe Dumars is safe from new management

Detroit Pistons Introduce John Kuester
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Now that the Pistons are safely in the hands of Mr. Tom Gores (pending NBA approval), the team can finally move forward. But what does that mean for the management and coaching? The Detroit Free Press reports that the architect of the 2004 championship team and the team that made about a billion Conference Finals in a row, as well as the man who spent the GNP of a large first-world country on Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon, will return to the organization, now free to pursue a true rebuilding effort.

Joe Dumars isn’t going anywhere. It’s believed Gores has told him that he can remain president for as long as he desires. It’s difficult imagining Dumars walking away after getting an owner who is as committed as he is in restoring pride to an organization reduced to rubble under Davidson’s two years as keeper to Bill Davidson’s basketball legacy.

via Drew Sharp: Pistons can finally go back to work | Detroit Free Press | freep.com.

Dumars may very well have had a plan in place to remove the logjam at shooting guard created by Rip Hamilton and Ben Gordon, but was undermined by the ownership situation. The behavior of the players this season, especially the veterans, created an untenable situation to be sure. But with an owner who wants to move forward, Dumars might be able to pursue an actual plan. Then again, even if Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince were moved, that wouldn’t excuse the money Dumars committed to Villanueva and Gordon. He overpaid for those players, there’s no way of getting around it. With Greg Monroe, Jonas Jerebko, and Austin Daye a solid set of building blocks going forward, Dumars would do well to admit his mistake and try and move one or both of them. Once the CBA is figured out, teams would flip to have Gordon, and the Pistons could go on with a true rebuilding platform. Those decisions are the ones that will have the most impact on whether Dumars’ chance with new ownership works out.

As for coaching? Well…

John Kuester became an inexpensive alternative.

Players aren’t dumb. They saw an owner who wasn’t fully engaged and committed to doing whatever necessary to provide the best possible winning environment. They got a Blue Light Special who was in over his head as a coach. Kuester was doomed from the start in terms of winning his players’ respect

via Drew Sharp: Pistons can finally go back to work | Detroit Free Press | freep.com.

If Gores decides to keep Kuester, it will not be a good start to his ownership period. He should have just figured a buyout into his price for the team. Kuester deserves a second chance somewhere. Just not with Detroit. It’s a new day. It’s time for the Pistons to move forward.



Mark Cuban on Mark Cuban

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If you owned an NBA team, wouldn’t you want to be like Mark Cuban? Injecting yourself in the personnel debates, working out in the facilities, flying with the team, taking shots on the court before games. He is a fan/owner.

He’s having fun, but he is also very smart and self-aware. And that comes through in a fantastic interview by Marc Spears of Yahoo — Cuban realizes that he has changed ownership.

“When I got in, everyone was like, ‘Shut the hell up, go up to the box, write the check and don’t say a word.’ Now, every time a team loses a game someone wants me to buy their team. Now when new owners come in, they want them to be like Mark Cuban. That’s a compliment, that’s interesting, that’s fun and everything.

“I’ve changed rules. I paid attention to the rules, I paid attention to the game and the math of the game. Things like clear-path [fouls] and showing the NBA the math didn’t work when it was one shot and the ball. It gave the defense advantage. We got that rule changed. I think I have had an impact on how the game is played. Not all teams, but a lot of teams recognize that we’re in the entertainment business, not in the basketball business. Now we go to arenas and they try to do what we do here. They try to copy us more than any other team. That’s a compliment. But it also makes us work harder to raise the bar. I want to stay ahead of everybody, too.”

There was a famous moment early in Cuban’s ownership when the late Pistons owner Bill Davidson smacked him down in a Board of Governor’s meeting. When asked about that, Cuban’s answer gives you an idea why David Stern has so much power.

“(Davidson) said, ‘You haven’t done [expletive] in this league. Shut up until you’ve done something in this league.’ And everyone told him that’s not right. I didn’t care. I walked into the very first board of governors meeting thinking, ‘It’s going to be great. There are 28 other owners and they are all smart, successful business people. It’s going to be a blast.’ Most of the owners didn’t even show up and most of the ones that were there didn’t say a word. And I was like, ‘What the [expletive]?’ I asked David [Stern] and he said, ‘If you got something to say, say it.’ Not everybody liked it. But I kept on saying it.”

Go read the entire interview, it’s brilliant. And I like Cuban even more, now.

Report: NBA owners confirm they want players to take a salary rollback

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We’ve kind of known that NBA owners wanted to roll back existing NBA contracts across the board, even though that was never made official.

Now it’s official — Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver confirmed it to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.

“It’s part of our proposal,” Silver said. “It included a reduction of existing contracts in addition to a reduction of the maximums going forward.”

A salary rollback. You can imagine how well that is going to go over with the Players Association — he everyone, let’s give back part of your salary.

Berger also says the owners first proposal — rejected out of hand by the players — had a “if you do this now it will not be as severe as what we will ask for later” proposal. Basically a Mafia kind of offer. Nice.

How much of a rollback the owners think they can get is just speculation. You hear some guesses at 20 to 30 percent, but remember the NHL got a 24 percent salary rollback at the cost of one entire season. The NBA will not get that much.

But can they get any rollback at all? Especially at a time when the players can argue that revenue is up, the Heat are creating levels of interest not seen since Jordan retired, and you’ve got the owners themselves going on spending sprees. How do you argue the league is hurting when the Memphis Grizzlies give $45 million over five years to Mike Conley?

Clearly the owners want a change in the business model, at a basic level. It’s not going to be a hard cap, but there will be smaller max deals and likely some kind of out on guaranteed deals so that teams are not stuck paying the Eddy Currys of the world the last few years of his deal.

David Stern and now Silver are taking the hard line. Pretty soon you can bet the Players Association will start pushing back publicly. We’ll be seeing a public debate, one that frankly will have little to do with the reality in the negotiating room.

The lockout is coming people. You can see it, off the record everyone expects it. But the question isn’t the July 1 deadline or the loss of Summer League (which will suck for us die hards but does not matter to the casual fan), the question is one year from right now.

If one year from today we’re writing about fights over salary rollbacks and the cap — if games are being missed — the league will have stepped on the golden egg that Miami has become. (Like them or not, they have spiked interest in the league.) It will take five years or more to get back. Players will lose money; the loss of casual fans will hurt the value of the franchises. Sponsors will flee, as will fans. Television ratings will fall. Everyone will lose. Big.

The players need to give back a little. The owners need to stop digging their own hole then expecting to be bailed out like a bank. Right now everyone is posturing, but we are counting on cooler heads. Some days you just wonder if those heads are out there.