2:39pm: Itzler is teaming with brokerage firm founder Steven Starker and has “extreme interest,” though he cautioned that it’s just preliminary, as he told
2:22pm: Bryan Colangelo is part of the group with Hill and Bridgeman, Aldridge clarifies (on Twitter).
THURSDAY, 2:19pm: Hill and fellow former player Junior Bridgeman are teaming up to try to purchase the Hawks, with Jerry Colangelo, Bryan’s father, acting a “senior advisor” to them, TNT’s David Aldridge reports (Twitter link). It’s unclear if Bryan is a part of the Hill-Bridgeman group. The Hawks officially put the entire team as well as Phillips Arena up for sale today, the club announced via press release.
WEDNESDAY, 10:29am: Former Suns and Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo, Grizzlies minority owner Steve Kaplan and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson are some of those who’ve expressed interest in purchasing the Hawks, reports Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Grant Hill is also in the mix, Vivlamore hears, confirming earlier speculation. The owners of Atlanta’s WNBA team, Kelly Loeffler and Mary Brock, also hold a level of interest in bidding for the Hawks, along with their husbands, Jeffrey Sprecher and John Brock, as they recently told Maria Saporta of the Atlanta Business Chronicle for a subscription-only piece (hat tip to Vivlamore).
Colangelo appeared to be linked to a group of Chicago-based investors who came up short in a bid for the Bucks last year, and he was also reportedly a candidate for Cavs and Pistons front office jobs in the spring. Hawks GM Danny Ferry is on an indefinite leave of absence. Kaplan’s role within the Grizzlies hierarchy reportedly shrunk during the team’s reorganization this past offseason.
Jesse Itzler, whom Grantland’s Bill Simmons identified Monday as a “name to watch” in regard to the sale of the Hawks, is currently interested only in a minority share, sources tell Vivlamore. Simmons also reported that investors Chris Hansen and Thomas Tull are mounting separate bids to buy the team and move it to Seattle, but it appears unlikely they’ll be allowed to relocate the franchise. The NBA’s stance has been that it will only consider moving a team if the market has essentially given up on the club, and that’s not the case in Atlanta, as Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders points out via Twitter.
Former players Dominique Wilkins, Dikembe Mutombo and Chris Webber, former Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien and attorney Doug Davis are others who reportedly have interest in purchasing the Hawks, though some would probably have to find partners to have control over a majority stake. The three ownership groups who currently own the Hawks have all agreed to sell, and the team is set to officially go on the market in a matter of days, according to Vivlamore. The purchase price is likely to end up on the low end of a range between $750MM and $1 billion, as Grantland’s Zach Lowe reported last week.