Archive for October, 2011

Atlanta Hawks: Hope on horizon (Update: Talks break off, more games canceled)

(Update: The league canceled all games through Nov. 30. The BRI still seems to be a sticking point.)

We’ve been here before but it looks like an end to the lockout is within sight.

The two sides are meeting this morning, and Chris Sheridan reports that the split of basketball revenues is at the top of the agenda. That’s been a source of contention between the sides in earlier sessions. Also, things have usually gotten tougher once the small negotiating groups go back to their constituents. So there’s still time for everything to fall apart but there was real optimism after last night’s bargaining session.

Union exec Billy Hunter said the two sides are “within striking distance of a deal.” Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports quotes a source saying: “There’s a strong expectation [within the negotiations] that hands will shake [Friday].” Howard Beck of the New York Times goes so far as to report that there’s still the possibility of an 82-game schedule if a deal is reached …

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Atlanta Hawks: Snag in ASG sale to Meruelo

The AJC’s Tim Tucker reports that ASG’’s sale of the Hawks to Alex Meruelo has hit a”’significant snag” and it’s not clear if the transaction will be completed.

According to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, the league and ASG are not convinced Meruelo has the cash for the purchase. Meruelo agreed to pay about $300 million for an 80-percent stake in the Hawks and the operating rights to Philips Arena.

Meruelo, in a statement to Tucker, said he still intends to purchase the Hawks and has the money to do so: “I have more than ample resources to purchase and operate the Hawks in a first class manner. I am committed to the purchase of the Atlanta Hawks. While I can’t comment on the details of the approval process, I have [done] and will do everything I can to bring the process to a positive conclusion.”

Meruelo’s purchase of the team was announced on Aug. 7 and is subject to league approval. The NBA last week approved a sale of the 76ers but did not act on the pending Hawks sale.

Michael …

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Atlanta Hawks: And so it begins . . .

Well, what seemed inevitable is now official. The NBA season is going to be less than 82 games for its teams this season because owners continue to lock out players without a new CBA.

The league announced tonight that all games through Nov. 14 are canceled–that means wiped away, not postponed as earlier reports speculated might happen before today’s seven-hour negotiation session. For the Hawks, the decision tosses aside games at Minnesota, vs. Boston, at Chicago, vs. New York, vs. Utah and at Orlando.

The new tentative season-opener is now Nov. 16 vs. Indiana at Philips. Season-ticket owners will get refunds with interest for the canceled games, including exhibitions. Alex Meruelo still is awaiting league approval of his purchase of the team from ASG, though he’s already made several trips to Atlanta and is up to speed on team matters.

Why did the league cancel two weeks instead of one? Think it has anything to do with players getting paid every other week during the season …

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