NBA spokesman Mike Bass said the Atlanta Hawks will not be relocating after it was reported the team will be sold by its current ownership group, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Vivlamore reported last week that 100 percent of the team will be up for sale starting this week. Majority owner Bruce Levenson announced his intention to sell last summer after a racist email leaked and general manager Danny Ferry made racist comments on a conference call.
In addition to Bass' declaration, Anne Torres, a spokeswoman for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, said the NBA told city officials a sale will be contingent on the team remaining in Atlanta.
"When he initially met with the NBA commissioner over selling the team, the commissioner assured him that one of the requirements of the sale would be that the team would stay in Atlanta," Torres said. "He’s confident that will happen."
The Hawks are in first place in the Eastern Conference, but attendance has been a problem for several years. Atlanta is currently No. 24 in attendance for home games and has been in the bottom-third in attendance each of the past four seasons.
Since the SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008, Seattle has been mentioned as a landing spot for several franchises. ESPN's Bill Simmons reported Chris Hansen and Thomas Tull were planning to bid for the franchise with the intent of moving it to Seattle. Hansen has bid for several other teams in an effort to bring the NBA back to Seattle.
Vivlamore reports there are several parties interested in purchasing the team, including groups led by former NBA players Grant Hill and Chris Webber.
- Paul Palladino