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 beat

127 comments Add your comment

Guido

August 7th, 2011
10:52 am

He better be ready to make good move also I hope he did not pay too much

ryan

August 7th, 2011
10:59 am

The one good thing is he one person and from LA and young hopefully bring some excitement like Cuban did i hope finally this will be an owner that not afraid to make big moves .

bigdave

August 7th, 2011
11:00 am

welcome Mr. Meruelo, just put the right people in the right places…

Casey Fouls Out

August 7th, 2011
11:02 am

This has to be an improvement, even if some of AS remain as minority owners. It can only up (can’t it?)

Billy

August 7th, 2011
11:11 am

what bigdave said!

ryan

August 7th, 2011
11:13 am

Come everyone join in sing with me NA NA NA Hay Hay gooooood by ASG and good riddance .

Nathan D

August 7th, 2011
11:14 am

hopefully he knows a thing or two about basketball and help us get a center without trading horford.

Grandmaster JeJe

August 7th, 2011
11:15 am

FIRST

FIRE SUND

Grandmaster JeJe

August 7th, 2011
11:15 am

JayInAtlanta

August 7th, 2011
11:17 am

Congrats to him. I do hope he’s a visible owner. That’s one thing I could say about a couple of those ASG guys. Plus, maybe he’ll bring some LA swagger and passion to the team…one can hope.

Boy, ASG sure got the HELL out of dodge, huh? :)

We were bamboozled.....

August 7th, 2011
11:26 am

Can he made a bid for the Coyotes so we can have an NHL team again since ASG screwed the fans over?

Dave

August 7th, 2011
11:27 am

I googled this guy on net worth and got this I hope he buys the Braves as well.

His net worth is $14.5 billion as of 2007, making him the 18th richest man in
America. … Alex Meruelo is a Los Angeles area property developer. …

Dwight

August 7th, 2011
11:29 am

White Herman Cain will lead us to the promise land!

Worldwide Clyde

August 7th, 2011
11:31 am

Hey Meruelo

I’m Worldwide Clyde a long time Hawks fan. I think you should read this blog daily to really know what the fans want out of your team. We have been on this blog for 8 or 9 years putting in work.

First move you should make is Fire Sund. He sucks. Signing Joe to a max deal was a mistake. Giving Marvin a new contract was a mistake. Giving Bibby a new contract was a mistake. Giving Jordan Crawford and a first round draft pick for a guy that can’t stay healthy was a mistake. Now we are stuck with the same team from last year. The same one that got beat in the second round.

We need a GM that knows what he’s doing. If you need a consultant to help you look for one i’m available.

Second thing you need to do is FIRE LD. He sucks.

Third thing you need to do is try and improve the atmosphere at Philips. The game experience is so boring sometimes i want to fall asleep. They need to play more rap music to get the crowd hype instead of that techno crap. All the groupies in the crowd need something to shake they thang to.

Welcome Meruelo

From the 2008 Blogger of the Year

Worldwide Clyde

Brad Lyons

August 7th, 2011
11:38 am

Until ALL MEMBERS OF THE ASG are removed from anything relating to the Hawks or Philips, I refuse to spend as much as a penny or even walk on the sidewalks of our wonderful arena. It took me involving WSB TV to make a public situation of my refund for the Thrashers to get my money back. The ASG and ALL PARTNERS are slimy, lying, money-hungry fools that have no clue how to run a franchise. From the moment they got involved, they created a situation that kept them from effectively managing a franchise and the Thrashers got the boot NOT because of fan support—but because of owners that didn’t have a clue. They denied everything, and even denied the sale of the Hawks—-once again proving they are liars. BUT for now at least the majority of these worthless morons are gone! ATLANTA DESERVES A HOCKEY TEAM—WE GOT SCREWED! Unfortunately, Gary Bettman doesn’t know the difference between his head or a hole in the ground.

CONservative Johnson

August 7th, 2011
11:42 am

Alex Meruelo is not who the $14.5 billion is referring to. Try again. We would all like to know. He sounds like Herman Cain LMAO . . .

Section 303

August 7th, 2011
11:49 am

This is great news! This guy sounds like a good owner and an owner with cash flowing, too.

I’m not that big of a hockey fan, but the ASG should never be forgiven for losing the Thrashers. Very happy to hear that their reign of terror is over. They should not be able to do too much damage as minority owners.

ryan

August 7th, 2011
11:57 am

There are some negative people on here Alex will be a lot better than ASG this is fresh start we all need to give him chance .

ryan

August 7th, 2011
12:03 pm

He is young owner has lot energy maybe another Cuban a one man owner is better than bunch guys fighting with each other all time so i am happy with this move .

Prison Mike

August 7th, 2011
12:10 pm

HUUUUGGGEEE.

To think we were arguably the MLE away from competing for a title and this owner could have been the difference. Long time coming for the A town, calling on all fans to support this franchise if Mr. Meruelo is going to do what it takes.

Thrasher Fan

August 7th, 2011
12:18 pm

Too bad he didn’t get involved before the Thrashers left town – would’ve rather had them than the Hawks in town.

clark kent

August 7th, 2011
12:20 pm

Don’t let the door hit you in the ass A$G. You, nor any of your cursed offspring are welcome here in Atlanta.

ArtMan

August 7th, 2011
12:30 pm

He is an unknown quantity so we don’t know what kind of owner he will be. A hands-on owner could be a real mixed bag. However we do know what kind of owners the ASG were and they were terrible.

As a fan, assuming we have a season, gives me hope. After the years under the ASG, hope is a good thing.

Dukester

August 7th, 2011
12:30 pm

Congrats sir I look forward to seeing how this franchise evolve in the next couple of months. This is a very tricky city to own a team in. There are not many native Atlantans like myself here. But one thing I know if you put a great product out they will join in and support and you will never know they werent Hawks fans. I know I there are a lot of fans that don’t like Rick Sund I dont either but in his defense I believe ASG asked him to hold this team together so the stakes would remain high until they found a buyer. You can look at the coaching decisions and the resigning of players that should have been released long ago. (Bibby, Marvin Williams, and Zaza Puchalia) I will say first order of business replace the figure head GM and coaching staff. By any means necessary find you a legit center there are 4 or 5 available. Land one.

Cable Guy

August 7th, 2011
12:32 pm

Christmas in August!!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS HAWKS FANS !!!!!!

ILL-Logical

August 7th, 2011
12:36 pm

First congratulations and best wishes to Mr.Meruelo for putting his money -and energy- into a franchise that has lacked leadership and direction during the tenure of the ASG.

While the ASG kept the franchise alive and made some progress in terms of the team’s success, their actions resulted in the franchise becoming the laughing stock of the league and there was a definite loss of fan support due in no small part to the ASG’s pitiful marketing efforts.

Atlanta is a town that has and will embrace an exciting, wining proffesional basketball team. A team that has championship aspirations and whose ownership provides the resources and personal involvement to make that happen. I, for one, hope that you are that guy.

litz

August 7th, 2011
12:37 pm

Boy it sure says something about peoples’ opinion of the ASG that a blog post goes up “XXX buys the Hawks, Philips rights” and 95% of the responses are “Sayonara ASG” !!!!!

(And I’ll add mine :) Sayonara! Goodbye (not), and good riddance.

Now let’s start working on the new guy and get him interested in ice hockey.

ILL-Logical

August 7th, 2011
12:37 pm

ILL-Logical

August 7th, 2011
12:38 pm

So excited about the news that I can’t spell: winning

Thrashers Season Ticket Holder

August 7th, 2011
1:11 pm

Burn in Hell, Atlanta Spirit Group!

(Yes, really.)

Thrashers Season Ticket Holder

August 7th, 2011
1:13 pm

Get Ready, Folks, because it is eventually coming once Philips Arena is paid for entirely:

The Los Angeles HAWKS of Anaheim

Grandad

August 7th, 2011
1:14 pm

1st -&- foremost:::::
*If Anyone @ the Dad-Blasted AJC Reads This Blog:
Then Keep the ____ Thang Up -&- Runnin’ !
Or … If You Should Care !

kreedham

August 7th, 2011
1:18 pm

Several years before the Hawks would be allowed to move. By then he will love Atlanta and stay here. Probably start expanding his Pizza empire to the Southeast. NHL won’t approve of his purchase of a team (Phoenix) until the ASG is completely out of the equation. Bet he’ll buy it all eventually!

Wink

August 7th, 2011
1:19 pm

Great to have you on board Mr. Meruelo! As long as you have complete control I am down with you. I understand this is your first time owning a professional sport team, but any businessman is an improvement over the ASG. By the way….good bye ASG.

As a result of starting with a single pizza parlor and building your holdings to a point to acquire a professional sports franchise, leads me to believe you got the goods to lead this NBA franchise. It seems you are just doing what you always done, buying controlling interest in a business, but the “hands on part” is the best news. It suggests you may go “Mark Cuban” on the Hawks and that would be refreshing.

If we have an NBA season, I realize the previous regime has really tied your hands. The signing of JJ being the biggest hurdle and no available salary cap to work with. I hope you are a good poker player, because all you have to work with is Josh & Marvin contracts and no number one pick available. By the way, one of your best players (Jamal Crawford) is a free agent, maybe you can mend fences with him, since the ASG did not recognize his value!

Anyway, great news to have you as the controlling owner of this misguided NBA franchise…Good Luck & God Speed Mr. Meruelo.

WELCOME!!!!!!!!

Grandad

August 7th, 2011
1:21 pm

Mr. Cunningham,

I hope all is well.
If not, then my prayers are with you.
Let us know…..we are a community.

My concern comes from your continued abscence.
My thoughts are sincere, as in recent weeks,
I’ve begun to worry about you.

Once again, I hope all is well with you and your family.

Sincerely,
G-dad.

Grandad

August 7th, 2011
1:23 pm

A learned man should know how to spell absence.

ATLBrave

August 7th, 2011
1:27 pm

Just shaking my head at people saying the Hawks will be moved. Atlanta is a huge NBA market, attendance struggles aside, and I sincerely doubt Stern would ever give up the opportunity to continually tap into that market. I love hockey as much as the next person, but you guys sound like jilted lovers who expect the worst at every turn. Not to mention the bonds on Philips arena don’t end until around 2028 or so, so unless the guys has a master plan of moving the team 16 years from now, I’d calm down.

ryan

August 7th, 2011
1:40 pm

Hawks can not move i don’t think the Lakers or Clippers will not let a third come into the city anyway so haters don’t get hopes up that the Hawks will move .

K.W.

August 7th, 2011
1:47 pm

YES! GOODBYE ASG!

Hawks Fan In New Orleans

August 7th, 2011
1:50 pm

Get ta steppin ASG!!!! PEACE!!! and take Rick Sund with ya!

Alex Meruelo, welcome and thanks for taking the team out of incapable hands – KEEP THEM IN THE A.

Grandad

August 7th, 2011
1:51 pm

Mary Ellen is havin’ an Organism right now !

gcs

August 7th, 2011
1:56 pm

Michael Gearon Jr., Bruce Levenson and the rest of you ASG jerks are now cordially invited to get the bleep out of Atlanta.

.

Grandad

August 7th, 2011
1:57 pm

The bloginator studied that one for 15 minutes;
-before it got posted- !

Najeh Davenpoop

August 7th, 2011
2:00 pm

Great news. If Meruelo wants to make money on his investment, he can start by making Teague and Dwight Howard the faces of the franchise and hiring a proactive, not reactive, GM.

Grandad

August 7th, 2011
2:05 pm

I was speakin’ of the 1:51 pm post;
then ol’ bloggiter must have his eye on me
’cause my 1:57 took 6 min to air. }-ha-{

kreedham

August 7th, 2011
2:12 pm

I believe he will buy 100% eventually but the Gearon’s can’t let go! Interesting to see what ASG owners remain as I suspect some will be out completely!

ArtMan

August 7th, 2011
2:12 pm

The first two things I would like Mr. Muruelo do is hire a good GM and then hire Rick Adelman as coach. Turning a franchise around has to start with good professional hires at the top.

drmaryb.(*_*).

August 7th, 2011
2:16 pm

Halleleujah!

How fitting that I just learned of this sale & I’m in Church right now. I’m texting under my Bible! Oh no! Here comes the offering plate!

I’m broke, should I throw my B-Berry in there? (sniggles)

Later! PTL!

Dept. Of Unintended Irony

August 7th, 2011
2:18 pm

Grandad,

The presence of the blog’s absence addles the brains of learned men. Well, it’ll be gone again by tomorrow night, wait and see. Too bad they didn’t just keep Big Ray’s blog open if this one keeps closing shop.

Grandad

August 7th, 2011
2:21 pm

Mr Meruelo May Be the 1st Latino owner…..
~But~
He’s Only the 2nd Cuban !!!!!

He Will Not Move the Team;
Not Only Because he Says So;
But Because the Team Cannot be Moved
~For~
*24* ..Yrs.. Without Paying an Exorbitant…….
[..*abscond..-&-..*betray..] Fee