The Atlanta Hawks' owner has self-reported an arguably racist e-mail as a claimed pretext for selling the team.
Ever think the Atlanta market itself might be the problem? Atlanta recently lost its pro hockey team, the Thrashers, which shared Philips Arena with the Hawks.
Or maybe Occam's Razor should be the guide. That is the principle that holds that the simplest explanation is probably the most accurate.
A while back I speculated that the Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was just using racism as a cover to boost the sale price of his somewhat underperforming basketball team by inducing someone to overpay in the chase for the approval of the politically correct applause corner. I thought then -- and do so now -- that Sterling executed a brilliant strategy. The team was sold --- for $2 billion. (Think there won't be buyer's remorse once the PC crowd's amen corner quiets down and moves to its next victim?)
Compare with the New Jersey Nets -- an even worse comparable, since they were in a horrible arena and generated little support, true passengers on the NBA bus, or fleas on the league dog -- who were bought for $300 million just five years ago and moved out of the Meadowlands swamp to a brand new arena in downtown Brooklyn.
What would the Nets be worth today?
Heck, hockey's New York Islanders -- another team with arena and revenue issues -- just were sold for nearly $500 million.
In short, I think this was all a ploy.