Alex Meruelo, the California-based businessman who has purchased the Atlanta Hawks, met the media on Monday for a brief afternoon news conference. While he didn't get into the particulars of buying the team and where he sees the roster and management structure going in the coming months and years -- on account of not yet being approved by the NBA and being under the league's lockout communication spell -- he did make one thing clear over and over: he wants to bring a championship to the ATL.
"I will never stop trying to win a championship for Atlanta," Meruelo said, while wearing a red Hawks hat.
Meruelo said he first registered interest in the Hawks six or seven months ago, but that he couldn't come to an agreement on the price with the Atlanta Spirit group. The Spirit then entered exclusive negotiations with a bidder, but that fell apart in recent months. At that point, Meruelo came back to the table and worked out an agreement. NBA.com's David Aldridge has reported that the pricetag came in over $300 million, not including substantial debt that Meruelo will assume.
Meruelo said his brief time in Atlanta has been enjoyable, and that he looks forward to monitoring the Hawks up close in coming season.
"That southern hospitality is very true," he said. "I feel it."
On why he went ahead with the purchase despite labor uncertainty and an ongoing lockout of players, Meruelo said he believes in the NBA's future.
"I just see a tremendous amount of opportunity and growth in this sport," he said.