At this point, here is what I can report on the ongoing Thrashers ownership issue. According to people familiar with the situation there are two investment groups that are progressing in an effort to buy the Hawks, Thrashers and Philips Arena and will keep the Thrashers in Atlanta.
A deal is not close in either case as proper paperwork has not been filed to begin serious negotiations. However, at least one group has met with the officials from the NBA and the NHL. The meeting with the NHL was Thursday.
In one of the prospective groups there is one main investor with others in the group, some of whom are from Atlanta. The group is not only interested in purchasing the three properties but there is a “development element” to the deal, possibly involving the area around the arena.
The Hawks, Thrashers and Philips Arena have been for sale and groups have expressed interest in buying the Thrashers and moving them to another city. Canadian cities Winnipeg, Quebec and Hamilton have long been rumored to be a possible destination.
As far as a timetable on such a deal, according to sources it would take at least a month to complete their due diligence on the proposal and at least another month to complete negotiations.
This is not the group involved with Atlanta native Stephen Rollins. That group is said to still be interested but a formal bid has not been made at this point.
I am continuing to work on this story in my best effort to make sure it is 100 percent accurate. Understand that I am only reporting that two new group have expressed interest in purchasing the teams and arena from the Atlanta Spirit and is progressing in its effort. There is a long way to go but it appears that the situation has progressed beyond the point of someone “kicking the tires.”