This past season changed a lot for the NBA’s more middling team, the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks went from a middle of the pack squad and elevated themselves into a franchise record setting 60 win season. Atlanta pushed ahead deeper into the playoffs than they had in the past 50 years and they made a name for themselves. Bruce Leveson, owner of the Atlanta Hawks, was the man behind the curtain of this experience. Since purchasing the Hawks back in 2002 he has led the team on an upward directory as they’ve assembled into one of the more complete squads in the NBA. Now Levenson is moving on to other things, having sold the team for a jaw dropping $850 million to a group led by Antony Ressler and Grant Hill.
Antony Ressler, 55, is worth close to $1.4 billion and he was the leading horse in the race to purchase the Hawks. The sale of the Los Angeles Clippers this past year escalated the market asking price for the NBA franchises and reportedly doubled the value of the Atlanta Hawks from their prior $425 figure. Levenson and the rest of the Hawks suited officials certainly weren’t complaining. Kessler had previously attempted to buy his way into the NBA through the Clippers but he could not find an agreement he liked with L.A. and eventually passed on them altogether.
Now Ressler will be spearheading an Atlanta Hawks team that look stop have their eyes firmly set on the future. Atlanta hd their most satisfying season in years in 2014 and now fans are going to be expecting to see more of the same. Atlanta set franchise records, ranked at the top of the league in important statistic categories, and made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals where they were bested by the Cleveland Cavaliers who were led by LeBron James. The question for Hawks fans is pretty simple: Can Atlanta do it again?
The Hawks haven’t been title contenders in decades and fans certainly should be expecting that of their franchise when they lace up their sneakers this coming season. Atlanta is still a middle market team that lacks true blue superstars. While Jeff Teague, Al Hereford, and Paul Millsap are all very good players they exist on a different spectrum than guys like Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Steph Curry. The NBA has turned into a superstar driven league and in the playoffs things get tighter than ever, forcing teams to really rely on their big men.
No matter what happens in this coming year it will be entertaining to see how Atlanta decides to move forward. The Hawks are on the verge of something and it could be great.