Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hawks Ownership Settles Lawsuit

The various factions which comprised the Atlanta Spirit Group which owns the Atlanta Hawks, the Atlanta Thrashers and Philips Arena, settled their internal dispute with the groups led by Bruce Levenson and Michael Gearon buying out Steve Belkin.

The official press release, in full:
The lawsuit among the owners of the Atlanta Hawks and the Atlanta Thrashers has been settled. Terms of the settlement are confidential. Going forward, Michael Gearon and Bruce Levenson will serve as managing partners of the Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Thrashers, and Philips Arena.
In the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kristi E. Stewart reports:
[T]he settlement includes seven of the group's co-owners buying out former partner Steve Belkin's 30 percent stake in the group. There are no new investors in line to replace Belkin.
Stewart goes on to report that at halftime of the Hawks/Cavaliers game, Levenson reiterated that he and and Gearon are actively searching for additional investors:
"We're still trying to find investors to come in here and help us. That hasn’t changed at all."
For reasons unpersuasive to me, Jeff Schultz considers the settlement good news:
The Spirit owners could never understand — or at least would never admit publicly — why they’ve been subjected to so much criticism over the past six and a half years. The reason is simple: Fans want their sports teams’ owners who are passionate and want to win as much as they do, and who give the impression that they know what they’re doing.

When owners are suing each other, it obviously sends a different message.

Now that they’re out of the courtroom, the remaining members of the Atlanta Spirit need to go about trying to repair some of the damage they’ve inflicted during their tenure. But if they don’t succeed right away, maybe it’s because there are more than a few bridges that need repairing.
The owners who have secured control of the Hawks are those most passionate about investing $200 million in salary, two first-round draft picks, and Boris Diaw in order to secure Joe Johnson's prime and decline which has thus far produced two winning seasons, an 11-18 post-season record, and no cap space until the Summer of 2013.

Passion is to good ownership and effort is to effective defense.


lukas said...

Dear sir,

Thank you for your response to my recent flurry of queries. It has been very helpful.

Your comment regarding Larry Brown sits a bit differently after this morning's news out of Charlotte. It makes me wonder, "isn't a 'real' coach a better long-term investment than a solid and sometimes brilliant fading star?" This thought is followed first by sighs and then by reflections on how I've come to care so much about a thing I fail to understand so thoroughly as I do basketball.

Watching highlights of last night's game, which feature Joe doing his best Kobe Bryant 4th quarter 'degree-of-difficulty' daggerfest impersonation, I was momentarily thrilled. That Mo-assisted three left whoever was defending him with an aspect worthy of a patented Bill Simmons 'body language rant.' The look on Byron Scott's face just after--the edit made it appear as an immediate follow-up, but I couldn't be sure--was priceless, right? Then I thought to myself, "it would have been really great to do that to a good team with a top-flight defense." I then realized that I can't remember that having happened since our home games in the 2008 playoffs against Boston. The above-mentioned sighs then gave way to tears. . . .

Then I read your post on the game, which only made things worse.

But, this is a comment on your most recent post, which raises again the specter of 'effort,' a concept which comes in for a lot of abuse on these pages. Curiously, to my ears, anyway, your major sticking point on last night's performance concerned precisely that as regards Josh Smith, which leads me to my question:

Is Coach Drew's incessant chatter about 'effort' merely part of a continuing PR campaign designed to make us think that last year's playoff flop--in which our spirit appeared to be broken and our 'effort,' with or without scare-marks'--was a result of coaching, and hence, a thing of the past?

When we lose, Coach often says, "sure, we lost. But we didn't give up!" If my suspicion is correct, the subtext to that public statement would be:

"Dear owndership group,

Yes, we lost a game that, by the numbers, we could have won. But, UNLIKE LAST YEAR IN THE PLAYOFFS we didn't give up!


Obviously, the tension in that statement is that, as you've pointed out, the numbers don't suggest that we should have beaten the Magic last year. Nevertheless, the fanbase does carry the belief that our 'effort' was lacking in that series, and ownership has got to be aware of this.

I'm not contesting you in the least concerning the fact that it would be far better for ownership to literally own the fact that defense is more a matter of talent and roster construction than effort, at least across an entire season, while allowing the fact that effort does play a role on a game-to-game basis. Instead, ownership, with the help of Coach Drew, tries to convince us that with enough effort we might just will ourselves into being a contender. The weakness of this approach is that, even when granting an appropriate degree of effort, the Hawks shall still fall far short of the true elite, thus exposing the team's short-sighted mismanagement by ownership.

I wish it weren't so.

Thanks again for your excellent work.

Watching the highlights from last night's game

lukas said...

Pardon the typographical hysterics. I'm still adjusting to this form of composition.