A group fronted by private equity mogul Tony Ressler finalized a deal with Hawks controlling owner Bruce Levenson to buy the team for approximately $850MM, a figure that includes roughly $120MM worth of arena debt. “We are honored and thrilled to have been chosen to become the new stewards of the Hawks,” said Ressler. “We respect the NBA’s approval process and, accordingly, can say no more other than we are incredibly excited by the Hawks’ success and wish them luck in the playoffs.” The sale, which also includes operation of Philips Arena, requires the approval of the NBA Board of Governors before it can formally take place. The new owners indicated that they plan to keep CEO Steve Koonin and coach/acting GM Mike Budenholzer aboard.
Here’s more from the week that was…
- The Thunder fired longtime coach Scott Brooks. UConn coach Kevin Ollie was the front-runner to replace Brooks as OKC’s head man, but Ollie indicated that he wasn’t inclined to leave UConn for the NBA due to personal reasons. Florida coach Billy Donovan and Spurs assistant Ettore Messina are also being mentioned as a possibilities for the Thunder’s now vacant coaching position.
- People close to Tom Thibodeau are convinced that the Bulls will fire him after the season is over.
- During his end-of-season press conference Flip Saunders gave no indication that he’s planning on stepping away from his Timberwolves coaching duties.
- The Rockets cut ties with D-League coach Nevada Smith of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the team’s affiliate.
2015 NBA Draft News
- Projected lottery pick Jakob Poeltl decided not to enter this year’s draft.
- Arizona freshman forward Stanley Johnson intends to enter the 2015 NBA draft.
- Rich Kleiman of Roc Nation Sports and Leon Rose of the Creative Artists Agency will team up to represent Willie Cauley-Stein.
- Croatian shooting guard Mario Hezonja intends to enter the 2015 NBA draft.
- Purdue junior A.J. Hammons will skip the NBA draft this season and return to school for his senior campaign.
- South Korean prospect Jong-Hyun Lee intends to enter the 2015 NBA draft.
- Myles Turner hired agent Andy Miller of ASM Sports to represent him.
- Projected second-round pick Petr Cornelie will pass on entering this year’s draft.
- Brazilian point guard George Lucas will enter this year’s draft.
- Justise Winslow decided on agent Joe Branch of Roc Nation Sports to represent him.
- Hazan Sports Management signed on to represent University of Houston guard Jherrod Stiggers and Michigan State guard Russell Byrd.
- Spanish center Guillermo Hernangomez will enter this year’s draft.
- Projected first-round pick Caris LeVert will stay for another year at the University of Michigan.
- Louisiana-Lafayette forward/center Shawn Long intends to return to school for his senior season and bypass this year’s draft.
- Satnam Singh Bhamara, a 7’1” 290-pound player from India, is considering declaring for the 2015 NBA Draft.
- Oklahoma junior shooting guard Buddy Hield will return to Oklahoma for his senior year.
- Senegalese center Moussa Diagne is entering this year’s draft.
- Providence sophomore point guard Kris Dunn will return to school for another season.
- First-round prospect Christian Wood has decided to enter this year’s draft.
- Tennessee Tech junior center Charles Jackson has decided to enter this year’s draft and signed with agent Scott Nichols.
- Second-round prospect Tyrone Wallace will return to Cal rather than enter this year’s draft.
- Greek power forward Dimitrios Agravanis intends to enter the 2015 NBA draft.
- Small forward Nedim Buza has decided to enter this year draft.
- Serbian point guards Miroslav Pasajlic and Nikola Radicevic will enter the NBA draft.
- LSU sophomore power forward Jarell Martin signed with agent Andy Miller of ASM Sports.
- Oklahoma State senior swingman Le’Bryan Nash hired Matt Babcock and Adie von Gontard of APAA Sports Group to represent him.
- Italian forward Simone Fontecchio, 19, will enter the 2015 NBA Draft.
- Jarvis Varnado, who was in camp with the Sixers this past fall, signed to play in Puerto Rico with Piratas de Quebradillas.
- Soon-to-be free agent Lou Williams won this year’s NBA Sixth Man of the Year award.
- Free agent Greg Monroe indicated that the Pistons have the upper hand to re-sign him.
- LaMarcus Aldridge‘s teammates are reportedly concerned that he may leave Portland as a free agent this summer. The Spurs and Mavs reportedly believe they’ll have a chance to sign the forward this summer.
- There are strong indications that the Lakers are the favorites to sign pending free agent Rajon Rondo this offseason. Rondo is out indefinitely with an injured back, and coach Rick Carlisle believes that he’s seen the last of the mercurial point guard in a Mavs uniforrm.
- Hawks head man Mike Budenholzer won the NBA’s Coach of the Year award.
- Joel Freeland would prefer to remain in the NBA and with the Blazers.
- Knicks team president Phil Jackson suggested that he would be more likely to trade New York’s first-round pick if it falls to fifth.
- The Rockets and Josh Smith have mutual interest in the player re-signing with the team for the 2015/16 season.
- Kawhi Leonard won the Defensive Player of the Year award.
- All of the week’s NBA D-League assignments and recalls can be found here.
- Jason Richardson is reportedly open to re-signing with the Sixers this summer.
- Hornets big man Cody Zeller had successful surgery to repair damage to his right shoulder and is expected to be out of action for three months.
- Mavs forward Chandler Parsons is out for the remainder of the playoffs with an injured knee and is expected to explore surgical options to correct the issue.
- Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made it clear that he’d like to have soon-to-be restricted free agent Jae Crowder back with the team next year.