A Maryland judge has ruled the eight owners of the Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Thrashers are back in business under the same operating agreement they shared before their split in 2005.Judge Durke G. Thompson's advice to the parties involved:
"The parties would be well served if they were to reach an agreed buyout price on their own without relying on investment bankers to make such a vital decision for them. Much of what has become a stumbling block in this case would be avoided had this been the procedure originally adopted."Seems sound advice to me even if one must overlook that the parties involved are the same that so royally screwed up the logistics of both practicing and dissolving their joint ownership.
I don't believe there's any (new) reason for concern for Hawks fans. The organization has demonstrated, if not an interest in contending for a championship, a willingness to spend sufficient money so as to increase the team's likelihood of making the playoffs and possibly wining a series once there.
Mark Bradley envisions a way in which this decision helps the Hawks:
Much has changed between 2005, when this jerry-built partnership splintered over Joe Johnson, and August 2009. The economy has gone so far south that even wealthy men have lost real money, and the idea of not having to put up more cash — $145 million plus interest — to get rid of Belkin must seem mighty appealing to the seven other Spirit men right about now.Even as one disagrees with the decisions made by the particular member(s) of the tiny subset of human beings able to own the team one supports emotionally and ponders intellectuallyan acknowledgment must also be made that the owners' emotional investment and commitment to financial responsibility is important and, sadly, should not be taken for granted.
With no ongoing court case — Belkin can appeal this decision, but he isn’t apt to win — the Spirit can look beyond the next deposition. Rumors have circulated for months that the Spirit might sell the Thrashers (while keeping the Hawks), but nobody could do anything while the Maryland decision was pending.
That could well be the best thing for Atlanta sports fans. It’s no secret that, with the exception of Levenson, the Spirit has always cared more about basketball.