Bruce Levenson Sells Hawks After Successful Season

Last year we saw the Atlanta Hawks accomplish several different things that nobody had any idea that they would be able to do. Atlanta has been notorious for being a team just better than mediocre, but not good enough to make a real splash in the Eastern Conference. Sure, for the better part of the last five or six years you could lock Atlanta in for 45+ wins but you would never bet on them over teams like Miami, Chicago, and Cleveland. Well, that mostly changed last season as Atlanta set a franchise record for wins in a season (60) and summarily made it to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1970. Behind all of this progress was a very happy owner by the name of Bruce Levenson.

Levenson had purchased the Atlanta Hawks back in 2002 after the team had struggled to gain traction through the ’90s. The Hawks were a competent team back then but they were buried underneath other Eastern Conference juggernauts like the Jordan-led Bulls or the Bad Boy Pistons. Atlanta just didn’t have that extra oomph to get over the edge. Well, it isn’t the ’90s anymore and the East really only has one other powerhouse franchise: Cleveland with LeBron James.

Knowing that their window for a deep playoff run wasn’t necessarily wide, Levenson made sure to open up his wallet this past off season. Levenson spearheaded the signings of Kyle Korver and Paul Millsap while filling out the roster with capable veteran bench members. With coach Mike Budenholzer in place we would see Atlanta tear through the league before ultimately falling to the Cleveland Cavaliers 4 games to 1. Still, despite the sad ending we saw some great things happen over the course of the season and now it seems like Atlanta is primed for success in the future.

The NBA landscape changed in a huge way this past year after the Los Angeles Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks were both sold to new owners. The sale of the Clippers in particular, for over a billion dollars, spiked the value of franchises the league over. Levenson saw that this would spike the value of his own Atlanta Hawks and thus he began to listen to offers. Antony Ressler, a billionaire, ended up offering the right amount in order to pry the Hawks away from Levenson. Before the Clippers sale the Hawks were valued around $400 million, Ressler ended up paying $850 million to get his hands on the team. So Levenson departed and it was Ressler who was in charge for his first off season after Levenson’s successful run.

With Ressler at the helm the Hawks needed to address several issues. Most importantly they had to make a decision on two stars from last year: Paul Millsap and Demarre Carroll. Millsap was a force down low and he played well with Horford, so Ressler offered him a 3 year max deal. Carroll had a coming out party in the playoffs but he was asking for too much money and ended up going to Toronto. Now we’ll see how the Hawks can play under new ownership.

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