By Michael Cunningham
Adam Silver, who is set to replace David Stern as NBA commissioner next spring, said he’s pleased with the investments and commitments made by Hawks owner since a potential sale of the team last year fell through.
“I’m really encouraged by everything I’m hearing and seeing here in addition to the new investment I’m seeing in the [Philips Arena] building here,” Silver said before the Hawks played the Magic last night. “Bruce [Levenson] has become a much more active owner since that aborted sale. He’s now on several important ownership committees. He’s given a long-term agreement to [GM] Danny Ferry. He’s become much more involved in the community.
“I think the franchise has been more than stabilized. I think the prospects are terrific. I’ve personally spent increasing amounts of time with Bruce. He’s clearly passionate about this team and passionate about this team being successful in this market.”
Silver, currently the league’s deputy commissioner, was in Atlanta to meet with Turner Broadcasting executives. He said he also wanted to attend his first Hawks game this season see the improvements made at Philips Arena, which include new video boards and a restaurant. Silver said he was scheduled met to meet after the game with Hawks owners and Ferry.
The NBA last November nixed a sale agreement between Hawks owners and Los Angeles businessman Alex Meruelo after it concluded Meruelo could not meet its financial requirements to operate the team. Last month Levenson said he and his partners considered themselves “extremely fortunate” the sale fell through and are focused on building the franchise for the long term.
Ferry signed a six-year contract with the Hawks last summer. Ferry said at the time that he was persuaded to take the job because of Levenson’s assurances of a long-term commitment to the franchise and promise of increased investments in basketball operations.