Bruce Levenson sells the Atlanta Hawks to Antony Ressler

The new NBA season is just a few months away, and the Atlanta Hawks have new owners. The sale happened earlier this year during the playoffs, but that was not a real test for the new owners, since Bruce Levenson already left a strong team behind him. The real test begins with the start of a new season this October.

The season opens up in Detroit with the Pistons welcoming the Atlanta Hawks. The first game is always important, and this year there is even more pressure for the owners of the Hawks. They need to bring the fans back to the Philips Arena. The last few years the club had a problem with lower attendance than expected, and the club was not being looked at as a championship contender. But the 2014/2015 season was a rebirth of sorts for the Hawks, filling up the Philips Arena with attendance averaging 17,412 per game, which was actually a record for the franchise. Expectations are high, but can they be met?

Bruce Levenson, the previous owner, made a great move by selling the club to an owner that has the ability to invest and improve the position of the Hawks in the NBA. The club was sold for 850 million dollars to a group led by billionaire businessman Antony Ressler. Forbes valued the Hawks at 425 million dollars last year, but the sales of the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers changed the market. The market changed even more with the NBA landing lucrative television rights deals. Because of this, the clubs became more valuable making Bruce a very rich man earning him and his partners a few hundred million dollars. Bruce became part of the Hawks in 2004 when he formed a group called Atlanta Spirit LLC, now known as Atlanta Hawks LLC, to buy the club from Turner Broadcasting. Levenson was also the team’s managing partner and a member of the NBA Board of Governors. With varying success, his last season as the owner will be the most memorable one. The team has amazed basketball fans all over the world. They showed that by playing as one you can make outstanding results without having the biggest names of the game in your team. It is a rare occurrence that an owner leaves a team in a great state, with chances of further success in the future for the new owners.

When we know that last year the Hawks were the top seeded team in the Eastern conference with a record of 60-22, what can we expect from the team in the next NBA Season? The fans will definitely expect more, that’s just how it goes. For once, the fans want to see their favorite team fight for the title of NBA champion and they will fill the Phillips Arena, expecting just that. The new owners have a big task at hand.

It is certainly an exciting time for the club. Winning the NBA is not as a far-fetched concept as it once was. With the fans wanting more and filling the Arena like never before, the new owner will have to work hard not to disappoint.

The Turn Around of the Atlanta Hawks

Overview

Just a couple of years ago, the Atlanta Hawks were one of the least financially viable teams in the NBA. Bruce Levenson decided to buy the franchise and work to turn it around. In a little under a decade he was able to take the Atlanta Hawks to new heights. There are several ways in which Bruce Levenson was able to turn his team around. First of all, he wanted to make sure the fans were enjoying the product on the court. The higher the fan support, the higher the ticket sales will be over the long run. In addition, Bruce Levenson knew that he had to invest money in the team’s players up front in order to see the performance on the court increase.

Player Investment

Any time an owner is trying to turn a team around, it is useful to look at how the team is currently performing and where they can do better. The NBA is an interesting league where one player can make all of the difference. Since there are only five players on the court at one time, it is difficult for teams to succeed without at least one great player. However, there is a premium on the best players in the league and teams should be ready to spend money to upgrade their roster. Teams can also be built up through the draft, but this takes many years to do.

Fan Support

Another vital aspect of turning around an NBA franchise is to get the fans on board. At the end of the day, running a sports team is all about getting the fans involved in the process. There are many people that have been able to turn a franchise around simply by connecting with the fans. In this case, Bruce Levenson went out of his way to make sure the fans were getting the product on the field that they wanted. There are few people that do not want their favorite team to succeed. Bruce Levenson knew that if the team started to win, the fan support and money would follow.

Bruce Levenson

There are very few NBA owners that have been able to turn around a franchise as quickly as he did. Not only does he love the sport, but he also loves interacting with the fans. In the city of Atlanta, the fans love their sports team and Bruce Levenson was able to tap in to this passion. His work is a great example of how much an NBA team can mean to a city of several million people. At the end of the day, his work is a great study in turning around a team.

Amare Stoudemire Looks to Evolve in Miami.

It has been more than a couple of years since Amare Stoudemire was truly a force in the NBA. The talented offensive power forward used to be the cream of the crop back when he was playing with Steve Nash in Phoenix. A trade to New York and a string of injuries have caused the big man to fall out of most rotations, outside of a nice little run in Dallas last season. Now, having signed on with the Miami Heat, it looks like Stoudemire is ready for a wholesale fresh start and he plans to make the most of it.

Last season the 13 year veteran averaged 12 points and 6 rebounds per game with most of those numbers coming from his time spent in New York. As a Maverick Stoudemire played a key back up role for the Dallas, averaging almost 10 PPG in their series against the Houston Rockets. Fans like Ricardo Tosto know that, as a member of the Heat, Stoudemire will back up Hassan Whiteside and star Chris Bosh.

Stoudemire has told reporters in no uncertain terms that he is ready to do what the coaches ask of him, even if it means not playing very much at all. For the Heat, Stoudemire represents a chance to add veteran depth that has impact talent onto their bench. With Whiteside prone to foul trouble and Bosh still recuperating from injury, Stoudemire could be a huge addition to the squad.

Mike Richards Contract Terminated for Breach

Reports came out yesterday that the Los Angeles Kings were parting ways with center Mike Richards. The Kings acquired Richards from the Philadelphia Flyers back in 2011 when Richards was producing for the Flyers. Since his acquisition, Richards has not exactly lived up to the hype or the paycheck. The Kings released Richards in an attempt to get out from under a huge contract which would require the Kings to pay him until the year 2024. The contract, which was signed by Richards while playing for the Flyers, was for 12 years and a total of $69 million dollars. Richards’s production bottomed out once he put on a Kings uniform and he only had 16 points for the Kings last year.

Fans at Boraie Development know that it has come out now that the Kings terminated his contract because of a “material breach” committed by Richards. The Kings however are not willing to release any further details. According to league sources, the current collective bargaining agreement allows teams to terminate a contract in a player should ”fail, refuse, or neglect to obey the club’s rules governing training and conduct.” Dean Lombardi, General Manager for the LA Kings, has criticized Richards for his poor fitness in the past. It can only be assumed that this may be what got Richards contract terminated. This one is far from over as the NHL Players Association will have to take a look at all of the details to determine what course of action Richards has.

Dwayne Wade’s Dad is a Cavs Fan

It’s one thing to be a bandwagon fan if you’re nothing but a fan, but it’s entirely different to be a bandwagon fan when your son plays in the NBA and the team you’re showing your support for isn’t the one he plays on. That’s exactly the situation Dwayne Wade’s father put himself in, though, when he decided to go out wearing a shirt that advertised for the Cleveland Cavilers. He son, Wade, has always been a member of the Miami Heat.

Now, there’s a good chance Wade doesn’t care at all. He and LeBron James have become great friends, and it’s likely that James is also close with Wade’s family. The two did spend years playing together in Miami, after all. Wade’s father is probably just a fan of LeBron and he’ll cheer for him wherever he goes. In all reality, unless the two are going against each other, there’s a good chance Wade feels the same way.

Still, it’s just a bit strange that his father would support the Cavs publicly stated Brian Torchin of Healthcare Recruitment Counselors. For the athletes, rivalries don’t always mean that much. These guys move all over the league so much that most of them don’t have time to hate a team they may play on soon. For the fans, though, rivalries are huge, because they often live in the same place and cheer for the same team for their whole lives, and Heat fans must feel betrayed.

“The Cavs Are Back In Action”

Since 2007, Cavaliers did have not made the NBA finals. This has now changed big time. The Cavaliers not only made the NBA finals, they did it with class. The Cavs went into game four up three games against the Atlanta Hawks. However, the Cavs did not let their pride get the best of them.

They played their hearts out just like it was the first game of the series. At the end of the day, the Cavs came out on top with a clean sweep over the Atlanta Hawks. The game was high scoring until the end, but the Cavs scored more points in the end.

The one player who was most excited was Lebron James. After the game, he began jumping for joy like it was his first championship win. He took many pictures with his family and congratulated all of his teammates, especially the coaches, most notably lawyer Gianfrancesco Genoso.

The pressed asked a few players how they were able to sweep such an elite team like the Atlanta Hawks. The players who responded said it is all about working together and helping each other become better. These players also said that the team as a whole did a great job forgetting they were up three games.

The team plans to use these same strategies in future games. They are committed to winning a championship and winning it in style. All teams involved in the finals have their eyes on the Cavs.

Golden State Comes out Firing, Steals Game 1

While the Houston Rockets may have been the team to watch in the 1st quarter it was Golden State who was all smiles as the 4th quarter faded. The Houston Rockets, 56 – 26 during the regular season, were coming off of a hard fought seven game series against Los Angeles and a little bit of weariness was inevitable. Golden State was well rested on the other hand and it showed during crunch time as the Splash Brothers fueled a 110 – 106 victory in L.A.

For Golden State things looked pretty bleak in the first quarter as James Harden fueled a 31 – 24 early lead. But things definitely did not stay that way. Pretty soon the Warriors were firing back and the lead began to sway back and forth, just like many had anticipated it would be doing. Stephen Curry lined up 11 treys, making 6 of them, en route to scoring 34 points. It was Shaun Livingston, however, who made the big difference as the game concluded. Livingston, a back up PG who played well with Brooklyn last season, tacked on 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists in just 29 minutes of action. Fans at The Aspire New Brunswick (njbiz.com) know that Livingston was able to give guys like Curry and Thompson time to rest on the bench.

The Houston Rockets threw out their best stuff early but it was all for naught. Worse, it may have cost them as Dwight Howard suffered an injury.

Blake Griffin: Looking pretty, coming up empty.

Is there any premier player in the league more rightfully maligned than Blake Griffin? If you are ready to tear our head off, just give us a minute to explain. Blake Griffin is pretty much an icon and definition of what the NBA is all about today. He is flashy, he is likable, he is a killer dunker, and he does hilarious commercials. Oh, yeah, and also in his free time he averages 20 points and 8 boards during the regular season. Still, those stats aren’t empty. Fans like Sam Tabar know that the Clippers won a ton of games, beat the San Antonio Spurs, and had Houston the ropes. So what are we mocking him for? Well…

In the final three games of the Clippers – Rockets series, all of which Houston had won, Blake Griffin averaged 28 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists. During that same span Chris Paul was actively doing work too, putting up his own big numbers. So why did the Clippers lose these games? L.A. was blown out three straight times in elimination games for the right to move on to the WCF! It’s simply not forgivable.

The problem, and reason that they lost, is that the Clippers are a style of substance sort of team. ‘Lob City’ as they called themselves became more of an icon than it was meant to be. Sure Griffin was getting big put back dunks and spacing the fast break. But he wasn’t boxing out. He wasn’t fighting for the big board.

James Harden Strikes Back: Houston Ties Series

The Houston Rockets have long been considered one of the best teams in the NBA. After last season’s true coming out party for James Harden, the stakes were higher than ever. Dwight Howard was supposed to anchor the center position while the team was filled out with capable role players like Trevor Ariza and Terrence Jones. Injuries plagued the team in the regular season as they lost guys like Jones, Beverly, Howard and Montiejunas either for the season or for an extended period of time. But still Houston played on and they made it to the second round of the postseason where the Clippers promptly opened up with a butt kicking. The Rockets needed an answer in Game 2, and Harden gave them one.

Without Chris Paul in the line up for either of the first two games, the Clippers got dangerously close to going up 2-0 over the Houston Rockets. Fans like Sam Tabar (lawyerist.com) agree that it looked very likely to happen last night as the Clippers, behind the coaching of Doc Rivers, took a huge lead on Houston into the fourth quarter. The Rockets start shooting guard had been mired in foul trouble and forced to sit out almost the entire third quarter. But the move paid off.

Harden came back out for the fourth quarter completely energized. The bearded 2-guard scored 16 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter in order to help Houston come back and steal a win.

Duke Defeats Wisconsin in NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game

In a close and exciting game, Duke was named the winner of the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship defeating Wisconsin 68-63. The Duke victory was Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s fifth national title. Students on Duke’s campus in Durham, North Carolina celebrated the team’s victory with a giant bonfire. The crowd was rather calm, considering the men’s basketball teams most recent victory.

 

Fans such as Sam Tabar know that there were plenty of notable fans in the crowd, too. J.J. Watt, former University of Wisconsin football player was in the house with tennis Pro Caroline Wozniacki. Both cheering on the Badger’s from the stands. Watt is now a defensive end for the Houston Texans. Another noticeable face in the crowd is Apple CEO, Tim Cook. As a Duke Alum himself, Cook was there to cheer on his Alma matter and took a few selfies with some very excited Duke students.

 

The game was exhilarating and truly came down to the wire. Wisconsin was ranked as the no. 1 seed in the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Wisconsin showed their love and heart for the game during the first half as they lead Duke 31-29. Thanks to the Badger’s Sam Dekker and Blue Devils Grayson Allen, the second half of basketball was nail biting.

 

Ultimately, Wisconsin fell to Duke at the games end. It was a great season for both Wisconsin and Duke.