Last season we saw the Atlanta Hawks go out and perform exceptionally well. The Hawks set a franchise record for wins in a the regular season while pushing past the second round of the playoffs for the first time in nearly 60 years. These on court successes showcased how far the Hawks had come under owner Bruce Levenson and the results were finally on full display for the loyal fans in the building every night. However, it appears that the off court victories might overshadow everything else, at least for the foreseeable future. Bruce Levenson of ajc sold the hawks this season.
We saw the Los Angeles Clippers franchise get sold a little over a year ago for an insane multi billion dollar number. The sale of the franchise set off a string of dominoes that dramatically altered the landscape of the NBA. Whenever a player gets paid big money, other players want similar payouts. The aforementioned concept holds particularly true in the market of NBA franchises. Due to the Clippers’ sale the Hawks saw their value explode and essentially double, going from $425 million to the $850 million number that the team ended up getting sold for.
Antony Ressler had been attempting to buy the Clippers when he was essentially priced out of contention by the billion dollar number. So when he saw that the Hawks were on the market for an acquirable number, he made his move. Working with a group that included former NBA star Grant Hill, Ressler managed to put together the $850 million that Levenson wanted for his Atlanta Hawks. The deal was completed after the finish of the Hawk’s postseason run and now Ressler and his group will assume control of basketball operations. The big question lingering for Atlanta fans is this: What will change, and what will stay the same?
The hope for most Hawk fans is that there is continuity in the form of coaching and playmaking. Coach Budenholzer showcased an elite offensive system last year with the team and his roster of players really bought into the system. With 4/5ths of his starting line up returning, as well as some nice new additions, it only makes sense that they will once again lean on the same concepts. As long as Ressler doesn’t try to dabble too much in the court related activities, Atlanta’s offense will remain in good shape.
Past their offensive questions, fans will quickly begin to wonder what kind of owner Ressler will be. Is he the kind of guy that will spend big to keep his roster in contention (resigning Paul Millsap points in this direction) or will he begin to pinch pennies, eager to recoup on his investment? With the NBA regular season aroudn the corner we will soon find out. In any event, the Eastern Conference is once again looking like it is growing in both talent and fan attention.