Archive for August, 2011

Atlanta Hawks: Pape Sy signs lockout opt-out deal in France

According to reports in Europe, Hawks guard Pape Sy has signed a one-year contract with BCM Gravelines in his native France that includes an opt-out clause if/when the NBA lockout ends.

An AJC Francophone offered a rough translation of the report from

“Here’s what you’ve been waiting for: Pape Sy is officially from Graveline, closing recruitment for the BCM. . . . Drafted by the Hawks in the second round in 2010, the leader Pape Sy should, however, remain with the BCM only during the lockout because of a clause in his contract. The northern club thus finally found the required money to make this luxury recruitment. . . . Sy will have the chance to silence his many detractors with his real talent level.”

So I guess Sy is viewed as a disappointment in France (and a “luxury recruitment” for Gravelines. The jury is still out on Sy with the Hawks. Presumably Sy could benefit from the youth/thrift movement that seems inevitable for the Hawks if only because the …

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Atlanta Hawks: Draft pick Keith Benson to play in Italy during lockout

Keith Benson, the Hawks’ second-round draft pick in June, has signed to to play for Sassari in the top Italian league.

Benson’s mother, Janice Hale, said Benson’s contract includes an opt-out clause that would allow him to return to Atlanta if/when the NBA lockout ends.

“Keith feels that having an opportunity to play professionally during the lockout will enable him to maintain his conditioning and prepare him for the Atlanta Hawks training camp when the lockout ends,” Hale wrote in an e-mail. “He has received numerous offers to play in Europe and Asia. In fact, there were offers that were close to double the offer he accepted. Many of the teams that offered him wanted to build their teams around him as the starting center and would not provide the opt out clause. He agreed to play for Sassari because they were willing to include the opt out clause in his contract.”

I can’t see any downside to this decision for Benson. Assuming he gets some decent playing time, he will get …

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Atlanta Hawks: Video: New owner, new era?

I talked Hawks today with CineSport’s Noah Coslov.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

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Atlanta Hawks: Meruelo set to take ‘complete control’ of team from ASG

The AJC’s Tim Tucker reports that L.A. businessman Alex Meruelo is set to buy a controlling stake in the Hawks and the operating rights for Philips Arena. The deal is subject to approval by the NBA Board of Governors.

Meruelo is not allowed to comment on his specific plans for the Hawks or the team’s personnel because he’s not yet been approved as owner and also because of the lockout. But Meruelo did tell Tucker that although some members of the Atlanta Spirit ownership group would remain as minority partners, “I will be in complete control of the team.”

Meruelo told Tucker there is no circumstance in which he would seek to move the team from Atlanta and that he planned to be a “hands-on” owner like he is in his other business ventures. Meruelo’s career in business began with a chain of pizza restaurants and his portfolio eventually grew to include real estate holdings, a bank, a casino and a television station.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks …

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