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Levenson Not the Only Owner Selling; Controlling Interest in Atlanta Hawks Up For Grabs

Bruce Levenson and Ed Peskowitz are both putting up their shares of the Atlanta Hawks, meaning controlling interest of the team is up for grabs.

Kevin C. Cox

Kasim Reed, the mayor of Atlanta, presented some new facts about the Atlanta Hawks' pending sale this morning.

While it's been known that owner Bruce Levenson is selling his 24% ownership stake after racially insensitive emails surfaced, it was added today that Levenson's business partner, Ed Peskowitz, will also be selling his shares. All together, that means 50.1%, or just enough for controlling interest of the team, is for sale. The remaining owners, including Michael Gearon Jr, with whom the NBA is reportedly "livid" after his power grab to take down Levenson and GM Danny Ferry, are all planning on keeping their shares.

Reed went on to say that he has spoken with six different potential owners. He declined to name any of them, but did say that one of them is from China. Reed, who was joined in his press conference by former Hawk Dominique Wilkins, said that whichever ownership group gets the endorsement of himself and the Atlanta City Council will have to make a commitment to keep the team and that "The city is going to play an important role in the buyer who purchases Mr. Levenson's interest." Reed continued by saying how important it was that "the new buyer wants to keep the team in the city and in the city. Let me be clear what that means. In the city and in the city." Yep, that's really what he said.

In the long run, however, if a prospective buyer is willing to pay Levenson and Peskowitz their asking price, as well as shelling out the $120 million in bonds that the Atlanta Spirit owes towards the Philips Arena, as well as the $75 million early termination fee, as well as whatever relocation fee the NBA decides to charge, there is very little that Reed could do to stop them. While it would be an expensive venture, it's not impossible. It's a lot of speed bumps, but no stop signs.

Reed then continued by making vague promises of cash towards any new owners. He alluded to selling Turner Field, the current home of baseball's Atlanta Braves, and... I don't know, handing the money to new owners in a large canvas sack with a giant dollar sign on it? It was unclear what exactly he was trying to convey at this point. He did not say that the money would go towards a new arena, even though Philips Arena is perfectly acceptable by all measurable standards, although he did not rule it out, either.