Dominique Wilkins “extremely interested” in buying Atlanta Hawks

dominique-wilkinsFormer Atlanta Hawks star and the team’s current vice president of basketball operations Dominique Wilkins seems to be interested in purchasing his former team.

According to a TMZ report, Wilkins is interested to place a bid to buy the team.

TMZ said “Wilkins is “extremely interested” in becoming the next owner of the Hawks — and has already been pre-approved for ownership by the NBA”.

“Wilkins — who has amassed his own small fortune over the years — has partnered up with a “very well-known businessman” who believes Wilkins would be the best person to lead the Hawks back to NBA glory,” according to TMZ.

Wilkins was very vocal during the Donald Sterling situation with the NBA but he has been silent so far in relation to the Hawks scandal. Wilkins tweeted on Sunday that he would release a statement soon. He reiterated that promise again on Tuesday.

Wilkins is legend on the court and off for the Hawks and in many ways is still the face of the franchise. He has been the team’s vice president of basketball since 2004 and is a color commentator on their television broadcasts.

Wilkins played 15 years in the NBA, earned his spot on the All-Star team 9 times. He holds career averages of 24.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg and 35.5 mpg in 1074 (started 995) NBA games.

He scored 26,668 points in his career, playing for Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs and Orlando Magic.

The Hawks had the third-worst attendance in the NBA last season, according to Yahoo Sports, which adds more to the question whether the new owners would improve the situation.

In comparison – the Sacramento Kings, working with an outdated arena in a tiny market and in the midst of a nearly decade-long playoff drought, recently sold for $535 million. The Milwaukee Bucks, working in a (literally) leaky and outdated arena, on their way toward compiling up the NBA’s worst record last season, still sold for $550 million. And in spite of absolutely no leverage, as the NBA was forcing its sale, the Los Angeles Clippers were recently sold for $2 billion.

At the same time, CNN has recently talked to a professor of sports business at Webster University Patrick Rishe, about the possible price for the Hawks.

Rishe estimates the Hawks will go for more than $700 million, though probably less than $1 billion. He said the Philips Arena in Atlanta is a much newer and better facility than those in Sacramento and Milwaukee.

Rishe also thinks that if the new owners can’t solve the team’s attendance problem before the current lease expires in 2018, the Hawks could move to an open market such as Seattle, Las Vegas or Kansas City – although all of those are significantly smaller than Atlanta.

“If the new management is able to create a turnaround, there’s a better chance they stay. If that doesn’t happen, there’s a high likelihood that they’ll leave,” said Rishe.

Following the scandal involving racist comments and the Hawks owner Bruce Levenson, there have already been some inquiries from possible buyers of the team, yet without any names.


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