Tuesday, August 09, 2005
It just gets uglier and uglier
Billy Knight has joined the chorus of Steve Belkin critics, bolstering allegations made by the Hawks' other owners that he does not want to spend money on the team. At this stage, with a phalanx of co-owners AND the GM all saying the same thing, it's hard to take Belkin seriously, not that that will matter when a Boston judge reviews the Atlanta Spirit operating agreement for the Hawks today and determines whether the other owners have the right to remove Belkin from his appointment to the NBA Board of Governors. The level of acrimony has reached such a public crescendo that the only solution is for Belkin to allow the other owners to buy him out and much of this posturing on both sides might be about affecting the price at which the other owners will do so. Belkin has always wanted to own an NBA team and he might be intransigent because he knows that if he gets booted from Atlanta Spirit, then his chances of ever owning another NBA team become minimal.
The worst possible outcome is for the judge to rule in favor of Belkin and then for Steve to dig his feet it, waiting for a buy-out offer that never reaches the levels of generosity that he demands. We'll be left with an owner hating his other owners and having veto power over every trade they make. The pall cast over the Hawks and Thrashers by a feuding ownership group with no solution on the horizon would be significant, as if the fact that neither of the Philips tenants have been to the playoffs since the facility opened in 1999 isn't bad enough. In short, today's events in Boston are really important. If they don't go well, I have a fusillade about Mass Holes ready to fly.