Report: Atlanta baseball legend Hank Aaron joins group trying to buy Hawks

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There is kind of a formula for ownership groups trying to buy an NBA team:

You need a couple of money guys (serious big money), then it doesn’t hurt if you have a minority owner or two with some cache in said city to help win over the local fans. We have seen it from Magic Johnson with the Dodgers to Justin Timberlake with the Grizzlies.

How about Hank Aaron to the Atlanta Hawks?

He is part of one group — one with very deep pockets — trying to buy the Hawks, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Former baseball home run king and Atlanta icon Hank Aaron has joined a group of current owners from the NBA, Major League Soccer and Italian soccer’s storied Serie A that is seeking to purchase the Atlanta Hawks, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPN.com that the group is spearheaded by Memphis Grizzlies minority owner and vice chairman Steve Kaplan, Indonesian billionaire sports and media magnates Erick Thohir and Handy Poernomo Soetedjo and former Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien, who is the current managing general partner of DC United in MLS.

Remember that Levien was running the show in Memphis when they let go of Lionel Hollins and made other changes, ones that eventually got him pushed out the door and the old regime brought back in.

While there are several Atlanta-based groups looking to potentially buy the team it will come down to one thing — money. Not Hammerin’ Hank or any other celebrities, this is a cold hard business deal. The current owners — all three groups — are cashing out, emphasis on the cash. I had been told the estimated sale price was in the $750 million range, but other reports suggest that could be a little low.

This group definitely has the pockets to put together the winning bid. This process seems to be moving fairly quickly now, although there is no timeline for the deal to be completed.

Whoever buys this team just needs to leave the basketball side alone — the Hawks are 29-8, on top of the Eastern Conference by playing selfless basketball, and they are poised to potentially make a deep playoff run.

And no, this team is not leaving Atlanta when sold.