The landscape of the NBA can change in the blink of an eye. Whether a team is suddenly relocated (Seattle Supersonics) or given a new name (Hornets) there is always something to keep an eye out for. Of course, there is also the much more common form of change in the NBA: ownership. While owners are looked at as the big suits in the world of professional sports, they still do manage to jump around quite a bit. Last year we saw two NBA franchises get sold in the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Clippers. These sales skyrocketed the values of all other NBA franchises along with the coinciding new television deal. The owner of the Atlanta Hawks, Bruce Levenson, saw an opening to make a nice chunk of change on his investment and he quickly cut a deal with Antony Ressler according to brucelevenson.com.
Before the Bucks and Clippers were sold the NBA had valued the Hawks at around $400 million. After the sales the value of the Hawks skyrocketed to close to $900 million. Obviously Levenson would want to cash in on this value jump and there were buyers ready to grab onto the reigns. Antony Ressler is a billionaire who has been trying to get into the NBA for a little while now. He was initially priced out of the competition for the Los Angeles Clippers but the man didn’t turn tail from his dream of owning a team. When the Hawks went up for sale Ressler was there with a group of buyers including Grant Hill at his side. While many believe that Ressler overpaid for the Hawks, the man still is looking like a genius as he scores a team that seems poised for long term success in the NBA.
Antony Ressler made his fortune with an investment firm by the name of Ares while also working as a real estate developer. His commitment to converting his billions into an NBA team was finally realized and we can’t help but think that his passion and enthusiasm will pay off. So far what we have seen appears to suggest that the team will continue to be aggressive in their pursuit of another division banner. With Ressler willing to pay big money to get the team are we surprised that he was ready to spend money this off season?
The Hawks made it a priority to pick up the contract of their star power forward Paul Millsap. Millsap was coming off of an All Star year where he set career highs in a ton of offensive categories. Ressler handed him a 3 year contract with a built in player extension that included max money, effectively prying him from the pursuing Orlando Magic. A team looking to keep its payroll under wraps would have opted to pass on Millsap’s contract, effectively shrugging their shoulders as he moved on to a different roster. Yet that isn’t what Atlanta did and because of it we think the Hawks are looking to make another deep run.