Atlanta Hawks: Sale agreement between Meruelo and ASG terminated

The AJC’s Tim Tucker reports that the sale agreement between ASG and L.A. businessman Alex Meruelo has been terminated by “mutual agreement.”

ASG member Bruce Levenson said in a statement: “The Atlanta Hawks are no longer for sale. We’re excited to remain as owners of the Hawks and are committed to building on our string of four straight playoff appearances.”

Meruelo said: “[W]e were not able to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement on some key issues given the current uncertainty surrounding the labor issue.”

According to Tucker, the “approval process bogged down after the NBA required economic conditions that were not part of Meruelo’s original deal.”

According to AJC wise guy Jeff Schultz, ASG’s ownership and now failed sale of the Hawks is “the nightmare that won’t end.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

86 comments Add your comment

GT Alum

November 4th, 2011
7:26 pm

And the hits just keep on a-comin’.


November 4th, 2011
7:26 pm


November 4th, 2011
7:26 pm

well darn.

the news still sucks.

GT Alum

November 4th, 2011
7:34 pm

Maybe the lockout will drag on and JJ will get injured playing in another league, which will allow us to void his contract.

Big Ray

November 4th, 2011
7:35 pm

Should have seen this one coming AS SOON as the comments were made about “seller financing.” Figures the ASG was trying some half-shady BS again and funny how it was very similar to when THEY were buying this team. Ok…not FUNNY…but certainly ironic.

These guys suck, the situation sucks, and there’s nothing but suckage to be expected on the horizon.

The good news – if you will – is that the NBA is so screwed up in their labor talks that they aren’t likely to play more than half a season any dang way, so that’s less time we can spend complaining about how much the ASG, retired-on-duty Sund, and Uncle Larry suck.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 4th, 2011
7:39 pm

Joe’s contract is a superficial problem compared to the DASG’s ongoing reign of error. If the DASG hangs around, Joe will just be replaced with another 2nd tier player the DASG tries to fool us into thinking is a star, LD will just be replaced with another bargain basement head coach, Sund will just be replaced with another puppet, etc. As long as the DASG is here the Hawks’ irrelevance will not end. They are the Rankin and Taylor Smiths of the new millennium. Until they are gone and the Hawks get their Arthur Blank, nothing will change.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 4th, 2011
7:40 pm

Hopefully TM103 goes double diamond so that Jeezy can afford to buy the Hawks.

GT Alum

November 4th, 2011
7:43 pm

I know, Najeh. Just trying to find a silver lining.


November 4th, 2011
7:50 pm

We are so screwed.

David Stern

November 4th, 2011
8:09 pm

Boom Dizzle

November 4th, 2011
8:46 pm

It’s got to be SOMEBODY that can buy this team……Tyler Perry, Jeezy, Kim Kardashian….hell I’ll take anybody over these Spirit stooges…..


November 4th, 2011
9:01 pm

this is what scares me..

“committed to building on our string of four straight playoff appearances”

as always, expect more of the same.


November 4th, 2011
9:16 pm


Lets not forget that according to Rick Sund, the Hawks are very similar to the Spurs. And how many teams have made the last 4 playoffs? And what was the hawks record against the teams that made it to the conference finals?

Accordiing to management and ownership, the Hawks are an elite team, so we should be satisfied with more of the same :twisted:


Jeezy, TI and Ludacris need to go get some investors.,

Astro Joe

November 4th, 2011
10:02 pm

Not a good week for pizza delivery men.

Fed Up

November 4th, 2011
10:11 pm

This is the best news that I’ve heard all week! Anything bad that happens to the Atlanta Spirit is good news! I hope these incompetent idiots go bankrupt and he Hawks are forced to move. Who needs them and who really cares? Good riddance!!!


November 4th, 2011
10:12 pm

Occupy Philips Arena!!


November 4th, 2011
11:14 pm

Screw you ASG! Go jump off a cliff.


November 4th, 2011
11:59 pm



November 5th, 2011
12:04 am

LSU vs Alabama anyone?

David Smith

November 5th, 2011
12:20 am

No one knows how good a owner Meruelo would have been but he would have been a breath of fresh air compared to The ASG.

Big Daddy

November 5th, 2011
7:04 am

Does anyone have David McDavid’s phone number? Maybe we could lure him back for another try.

Astro Joe

November 5th, 2011
7:58 am

The failings of the ASG are quite remarkable. The previous owners of teams like the Warriors, Pistons and 76ers have been able to find buyers with the proper “credentials” to close the sale. But the ASG? No such luck… they enter into an agreement with someone who couldn’t clear the league’s hurdles. Turn after turn, they always come up looking like mental & financial midgets in comparison to the vast majority of other NBA owners. The “ASG Era” will be recorded by history as a big-a$$ joke.

Worldwide Clyde

November 5th, 2011
8:26 am

Just got back from Rio to hear The Spirit is back. Its a sad day in Atlanta.

Grandmaster JeJe

November 5th, 2011
12:51 pm


November 5th, 2011
2:57 pm

Enter your comments here
It takes alot of Talent to screw-up this kind of a Sale; I’m sure Ben Kerner is rolling over in his grave wondering why he sold the St. Louis Hawks to businessmen in Atlanta.
SONG–Caught In A Trap, Can’t Get Out
MOVIE–Drag Me To Hell
As far as the Lockout goes, it makes me laugh when they talk about the Growth Of Basketball Related Income in Future Years. Don’t they realize that they are Killing the Game of Basketball and Future Interest in the NBA. If they keep this up the BRI may fall to 2 Billion instead of going up to 5 Billion or more in Future Years. So I ask, would you rather have 60% of 2 Billion or 50% of 5 Billion? If they can’t figure this out, then it is time for this Lifelong NBA Hawks Fan to decertify. I’ve never been more disgusted.


November 5th, 2011
3:11 pm


the fact that the ASG ended up suing their own lawyers is another example of how Inept they are.


November 5th, 2011
3:14 pm


I give the edge to Alabama playing at home, but I’m pulling for LSU.


November 5th, 2011
3:29 pm

yeah the firm they sued is thought of as one of the best in atlanta as well.

no we can all hope that the nba doesnt get its act together and somehow a savior comes to the rescue by summer or we start this all again. oh woe is me the life long atlanta sports team fan.


November 5th, 2011
3:37 pm

Ain’t we lucky we got ‘em…..Good Times!!!


November 5th, 2011
5:44 pm

Couldn’t care less. I hope the NBA doesn’t play this year! One less year to pay iso-Joe.

Ole Hawk's Fan

November 5th, 2011
6:01 pm

ASG is the Laughing Stock of the NBA! I hope the Strike last for three years or more.

Ole Hawk's Fan

November 5th, 2011
6:02 pm

Maybe Winnipeg will buy The Hawks!


November 5th, 2011
9:18 pm

What ever happenned to the buyers that had $500 million set aside to buy the Hawks??? Global Wellington Financial Corp. and Oriana Capital Partners was hardly ever mentioned in Atlanta but they had the cash ready to go. I wonder what the Spirit Group is really up to?

check out this!!!


November 5th, 2011
10:37 pm

I think LSU and Alabama could give the Miami Dolphins a tough game.

Braves Fan Since 1966

November 5th, 2011
10:40 pm

I’m just curious. Have the Hawks moved? How are they doing?


November 5th, 2011
10:42 pm

From the associated press;

A group of about a dozen owners, led by Charlotte’s Michael Jordan, was upset that players were offered a 50-50 split and want the players’ share to be no higher than 47 percent, one person told the AP as first reported by The New York Times..

The irony. Isnt this the same MJ who told the former Washington Bullets/Wizards owner (during the lockout in the late 90’s) that “If you can’t make a profit, you should sell your team,”.

The Falcon Jedi

November 6th, 2011
12:00 am

That Max Contract to Joe Johnson turned out to be worth it didnt it? LOL. Wow. Seriously? Did management really think that Joe Johnson is the Key to a Hawks Championship? Yea they did. This team sucks, will now be SUCK for the next 5 years. The Hawks are a joke.

Worldwide Clyde

November 6th, 2011
12:03 am

Now that the Spirit is back I hope the lockout lasts all season.



November 6th, 2011
1:16 am

Come on! There’s GOT to be a way to get those bozos out of Atlanta sports. I don’t know what “Spirit” they’re trying to please, but it sure isn’t any from Atlanta.

Kind of ironic that this happened. Almost makes me wonder if the ASG is the cause for all the NBA discussions & lack of play this year! & set it all up for this BS news from that “group”!!!


November 6th, 2011
1:19 am

“Ole Hawk’s Fan
November 5th, 2011
6:01 pm

ASG is the Laughing Stock of the NBA! I hope the Strike last for three years or more.”

& people wonder why us Thrasher fans got FURIOUS when the media & other locations tried to blame that fiasco on US instead of ASG?

Worldwide Clyde

November 6th, 2011
1:20 am

Alabama lost and the Spirit Group is coming back. Its been a bad day pray for me in church tomorrow.


November 6th, 2011
1:35 am

well, i got my first check back from the basg. sweeet deal and i dont have any strings attached going forward. i can pnly hope to get a full reimbursement going forward as the whole of the season is now a falsehood. maybe if there had been any suggestion of solidity or trust in and from the owners i would have gone for the “bonus’” they offered and continue to offer to keep my money in play. to all those that kept their money in their hands all i can say is “this way to the egress” as pt barnum said, or to put it a different way, “sucker born every day”.

folks these guys can now run two professional teams into the ground and our mayor is worried about how much we spend on the protestors in our downtown park close to the phil. wake up mayor and help us get rid of these pariahs that are costing you triple thata week is my guess or you will be out of more money than ted turner ever thought possible when he did a bait and switch and handed over the team over the mcdavid handshake to these incompetent boobs.

i have been saying it since the beginning and over six years ago, it is not about woody, rick, billy or ld, it is and always will be about the crazy basg ….. broken atlanta spirit group. instead of all these fire somebody whomever folks wrote, it should and always should remain, get rid of the basg.


November 6th, 2011
1:44 am

clyde, you must be feeling some connection and pain to the seminole fans that for so many years cried “wide right”. so close but yet so far, eh?


November 6th, 2011
6:38 am

Smells like Team Spirit …

drmaryb (*_*)

November 6th, 2011
9:29 am

Well Done!

Well, stick in fork in the ASKG Bird! It’s well done and burned around the edges. (pffttt!)


November 6th, 2011
12:17 pm

I miss the show on TNT. Where’s Kenny and Barkley?


November 6th, 2011
12:17 pm

Forbes Magazine in an “unbiased” report indicated that 12 teams (40% of the NBA teams) lost money in the 2009-2010 season. They include: Trailblazers, Mavericks, Magic, Hawks, Hornets, Pacers, Bobcats, Nets, Bucks, Grizzlies, Wolves and Kings.

When you look at the Forbes list of Money Makers and Money Losers they are as follows listed geographically.

West Coast – Portland Trailblazers (ML), Sacramento Kings (ML), Oakland Warriors (MM), Los Angeles Lakers (MM)
Far West – Arizona Suns (MM), Utah Jazz (MM), Denver Nuggets (MM)
South West – Oklahoma City Thunder (MM), Dallas Mavericks (ML), San Antonia Spurs (MM), Houston Rockets, (ML)
North Central/Great Lakes – Minneapolis – Minnesota Timberwolves (ML), Milwaukee Bucks (ML), Chicago Bulls (MM), Indianapolis – Indiana Pacers (ML), Detroit Piston (MM), Cleveland Cavaliers (MM),
Toronto Raptors (MM)
South Central – Memphis Grizzlies (ML), New Orleans Hornets (ML),
South East – Miami Heat (MM), Orlando Magic (ML), Atlanta Hawks (ML), Charlotte BobCats (ML)
Mid/North Atlantic – Washington Wizards (MM), Philadelphia 76ers (MM), Newark- New Jersey Nets (ML), New York City – New York Knicks (MM), Boston Celtics (MM)

At this point in the negotiations it boils down to small market owners led by Michael Jordon who have banded together and will not agree to a 52.5% player to 47.5% owner revenue split. Jordon believes that it should be 47% player and 53% owner. Jordon is one of the owner of the Charlotte BobCats who lost money in th 2009-2010 season. Other owners will take a 50/50 split. The players union is under heavy not to concede any more.

The primary issue is the Basketball-Related Income (BRI) split – We all hear in the negotiations of a BRI percentage split of 52.5/447.5 (favored by players) and a 50/50 (favored by most owners). But in reality when you think about it, the important thing is not the BRI percentage, but rather the percentage of what. The BRI is a pool of money that takes into account REVENUE (most of the individual teams’ local revenue and the collective revenue of all teams).

The following are the primary components of BRI:
??? Regular-season ticket revenues
??? Local broadcast revenue
??? National broadcast revenue
??? Playoff ticket revenues
??? In-arena concessions and merchandise
??? 40 percent of signage revenue
??? 40 percent of suite revenue
??? 50 percent of naming rights revenue

So, it’s pretty easy to see that any revenue-generating activity — from selling tickets to hot dogs to television rights to video games — is divided between the players and owners. But it is important to note that only revenue gets shared, not EXPENSES associated with generating revenue. The EXPENSES fall only on the owners not the players. If owners spend more than they generate on marketing, construction, etc., the players receive a net benefit and the owners receive a loss. Although not unique to professional basketball, it is the prime thrust that owners are focusing in on in the negotiations, i.e., revising the BRI through a lower share allocated to the players, like 50/50.

With a group of players banding together to focus on decertifying their union so no more concessions will be made and the small market owner group pushing for at least a 50/50 BRI, it looks like both sides are too entrenched for there to be any negotiated settlement soon.

Prediction: No play in the NBA for the 2011-2012 season.

Read more:


November 6th, 2011
12:28 pm

the more I read about Michael Jordan, the person,husband,father and GM, the more I think that he was a great basketball player.

Worldwide douche

November 6th, 2011
12:57 pm

Hey Clyde- Roll Tide!!! AHAHAHAHAHAHA! Jerk off!


November 6th, 2011
1:40 pm

Good to see stories like below:

LOS ANGELES − Washington Park is a narrow strip of green pinched between railroad tracks and a busy tree-lined street in Watts, a grassy oasis in a hardscrabble community in the heart of Los Angeles gang territory. Young men shout at each other in Spanish as they battle on the park’s soccer field. Hip-hop blasts out of car stereos. The air is thick with smoke from pork and chicken sizzling on a dozen grills.

The East Coast Crips, Kitchen Crips, Grape Street Crips and Florencia 13s all claim turf near here, but unlike many of the nearby buildings, the rec center on the north end of the park is free of graffiti. It’s neutral territory, a safe haven in an area plagued by crime and gang violence.

The rec center is the home base of the I-Can All-Stars, the basketball program founded by Rudolph (Rockhead) Johnson, a 48-year-old bear of a man with flecks of gray in his hair and goatee, a former Compton Crips leader who was once one of the most feared and dangerous men in South Central Los Angeles.

Rockhead once ruled the streets not far from the rec center by stabbing, shooting and beating anybody who got in his way, but that was before he met Jim Brown, the NFL legend, movie star and founder of the Ameri-I-Can Foundation, the gang-intervention program that has rescued thousands of young men and women from the streets. And it was before Johnson developed a passion for basketball and for mentoring kids who are filled with the same fury that once churned inside of him.

Jim Brown’s Amer-I-Can makes a difference

“Jim Brown saved my life,” says Johnson as he helps Trevor Ariza, Matt Barnes and other NBA stars hand out bags of groceries to needy families in the sunlight-filled gym on an October Saturday at the Big Assist, a charity event organized and hosted by Keyon Dooling of the Milwaukee Bucks. “Amer-I-can taught me how to be responsible for my actions. But if I didn’t have basketball and these kids, I would have taken a step back. Basketball gives me life.”

Johnson was a stone-cold thug who used guns, knives, pipes, his ham-sized fists and even his own head − hence the nickname − to inflict pain on anybody who crossed him. He has been shot and stabbed, and he has spent more than a third of his life incarcerated, much of it in the “hole,” separated from the rest of the prison population.

“Rock enjoyed being the vicious cat, the cat that everybody was afraid of, the cat that nobody could control,” Brown says. “He enjoyed creating fear in people.”

B ut thanks to Brown, Johnson now only battles for redemption. The man who once made big money selling drugs now constantly scrambles for funds to pay for travel expenses and tournament entry fees, and often dips into his own salary as an Amer-I-Can facilitator to supplement his program’s shoestring budget. He recruits kids who have been overlooked or ignored by other travel teams, and constantly pushes his players to improve themselves both on and off the court. He requires his athletes to complete Brown’s Amer-I-can curriculum, a course that teaches life-management skills.

“A lot of AAU coaches are more interested in shoe deals than the kids,” says Robert Ringer, a former I-Can All-Star who played college hoops at Alabama-Birmingham and now works for ESPNU. “There’s a shady side to it. Rock uses basketball as a way to open up opportunities for his players.”

Johnson’s kids have to attend school and pass their courses. Players who screw up, no matter how good they are, sit on the bench, but they are never thrown off the team. “I don’t give up on kids, just like Jim didn’t give up on me,” Johnson says.

Before he established the I-Can All-Stars, Johnson’s only previous basketball experience was shooting free throws in the prison yard. But the I-Can All-Stars often beat teams with more talent and resources, says former sneaker executive Sonny Vaccaro, the godfather of grass-roots youth basketball. “His kids play hard every game,” Vaccaro says.

Greg Hamilton, the father of former I-Can All-Star Jordan Hamilton, a first-round pick in the NBA draft this summer, is a youth minister who says the tough love and respect Johnson shows his players deeply reverberates with kids from broken inner city communities.
“He was in the hole and he got out,” Hamilton says. “If there’s hope for Rock Johnson, there’s hope for anybody.”

* * *

Rockhead Johnson’s mother was 14 years old when she ran away from home, 15 years old when she had her first child. She had eight babies with eight different men, and Johnson is her third oldest. He never met his father, he says, and until he met Jim Brown, he never had a positive male role model in his life.

Johnson says his mother worked hard to provide for her sprawling family, but she was a stern woman who beat her kids for even the smallest infractions. “I literally grew up hating my mother,” Rockhead says.

Johnson was living on the street and committing petty crimes by the time he was 11 years old. He started running with the Compton Crips a year later. He was just a ’tween when he was arrested on burglary charges and sent to a boys’ home. When older residents beat him up and threatened to rape him, Johnson used a metal pipe to exact a bloody revenge. There are only two kinds of people in those kinds of institutions, Johnson says: predators and prey.

Rockhead spent most of his teen years in correctional facilities and state prisons thanks to his frequent assaults on guards and other inmates. But Johnson says he had his limits. He looked down at gang members who extorted or sexually assaulted unaffiliated prisoners. There was no honor in exploiting the weak.

“I always dealt with cats tougher than me,” Johnson says. “I had to prove that I could be a monster.”

Johnson enrolled at Long Beach City College in 1981, after he was released from prison, paying his bills by dealing weed. The cops came looking for him again, but not because he was selling dope. He was accused of shooting three people while trying to rob a Burger King. Rockhead says he had nothing to do with that crime, but he was convicted on murder and robbery charges and sent to prison yet again, this time for 19 years.

He became an influential leader in the Consolidated Crips Organization, the hierarchy that called the shots in the state prison system. Johnson was an enforcer. He liked stabbing and beating anyone he thought needed to be disciplined. “We controlled 19 prisons by fear,” Johnson says.

The murder conviction was overturned, and after 10 years in prison, Johnson returned to Compton in the early ’90s. He heard that Brown had founded a gang-intervention organization called Amer-I-Can, and that he would invite the gangs to his home in the Hollywood Hills, hoping he could help Crips and Bloods forge a truce.

“Black men were killing each other over blue and red rags,” Brown says. “I thought it was what was needed at the time.”

Johnson figured Brown was just another hustler looking for a way to exploit L.A.’s gangs. But the football legend was respectful, intent on building bridges. He had a quiet power that Johnson found appealing.

To Brown, Rockhead appeared to be a natural leader. Underneath his swagger, Brown says, was an intelligent man.

“I was always told I was cursed at birth, but Jim gave me respect as a man,” Johnson says. “Nobody had ever paid me that kind of respect before.”

Still, Rockhead was reluctant to give up gang life, a mind-set that deeply changed when Johnson needed Brown’s help to stay out of jail. He was driving on the freeway with his friends when young men in another vehicle started pumping bullets into his car. The passengers in Johnson’s car returned the fire. When the California Highway Patrol stopped Johnson, he denied he had been involved in the incident, but the bullet holes in his car and a 9mm clip in the trunk left them unconvinced. Johnson, still on parole, was about to go back to prison.

Rockhead called Brown and asked him to appear at his hearing. “If you get me out of this,” he says he told the NFL Hall of Famer, “I will give you all of Compton.”

“I don’t want Compton,” Brown says he told Johnson. “I want your mind.”

Brown appeared at the parole hearing and persuaded the board that Rockhead could be a positive force on L.A’s streets. Johnson was sentenced to the three months he had served waiting for the hearing.

* * *

Johnson, as promised, gave Brown his mind: He completed the Amer-I-Can curriculum, a 15-point course that helps its students learn how to set goals, solve problems and strengthen family ties. He became Brown’s chief-of-staff and traveled to dozens of states to teach and share the curriculum. The ties that bound Brown and Johnson grew stronger; Johnson calls Brown his surrogate father.

Johnson turned his back on violence, even after rivals − angry that he had joined Amer-I-Can and was working to get gang members off the street − shot him 11 times in 1993. He remained committed to Brown’s message of non-violence even after his 16-year-old daughter, Mercedes, was shot and killed in 1998.

Johnson had seen the potential impact of basketball to help spread Brown’s message when he took a group of kids to a Southern California AAU tournament in 1994. He had seen his boys play hoops on the street, and he wondered out loud why they weren’t playing organized ball. Bad grades and bad attitudes, they told him. Nobody wanted them on their teams, they said.

Johnson persuaded Brown to cut him a check for $17,000, enough money to pay for uniforms, travel expenses and entry fees for a Las Vegas tournament. His teams lost every game. “We stunk,” Johnson laughs, “but the kids had so much joy. Most of them had never been out of Compton before. We got our ass whupped, but we went home happy.”

Rivals quickly dubbed Rockhead’s guys the “I-Can’t All-Stars.” But by emphasizing conditioning and tenacious man-to-man defense, by doling out big servings of discipline and praise, Johnson transformed the I-Can All-Stars into a competitive program. His roster may not be full of McDonald’s All-Americans, but Vaccaro says it regularly beats teams that are.

“Rock is a great motivator,” says Jordan Hamilton, the former I-Can All-Star who will be a Denver Nuggets rookie when the NBA lockout ends.

The program now has four high school-level teams and three 14-and-under squads. Nearly 200 of Johnson’s players − mostly kids who were not on the recruiting radar when they joined the program − have received Division I basketball scholarships. Former I-Can All-Star Derrick Williams was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the second pick of the NBA draft this summer. Former Net Hassan Adams is also an I-Can alumnus.

Despite his program’s constant money woes, the I-Can All-Stars don’t charge players. Brown continues to help the program financially − one fan recently donated $8,500 in exchange for an autographed football. Los Angeles Lakers star Lamar Odom paid the bills for a couple of seasons. Vaccaro supplies sneakers and other gear when he can. New England Patriots coach Bill Bellichick is also a supporter.

Dorell Wright of the Golden State Warriors, who used to play for a rival program, is a sponsor. “I like to give to people who do something good with my money,” Wright says. “I know Rock works hard for his kids.”

For Johnson, it’s all part of his journey from the streets to the basketball court, the transformation from monster to mentor.

“My power always came from putting the fear of God in people,” Rockhead says. “But there’s nothing good about gangs. Nothing good came out of my past life.

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