Last week we learned that the entire Atlanta Hawks franchise is up for sale, not just one slice of it claimed by auto-ousted Bruce Levenson. The ability to claim full control certainly draws more wallets to the yard. Among those, reports Grantland's Bill Simmons, are Chris Hansen and Thomas Tull, both very rich fellas from Seattle.
Tull is a new, unencumbered name in NBA franchisee circles. Hansen is not. He led the failed campaign to move the Kings to Seattle in 2013. (In full disclosure, I am a Sacramentan and a Kings fan.) If Seattle really wants a team, it needs to rally around Tull or someone other than Hansen, because he is damaged goods.
Why? Because after the NBA Board of Governors elected to reject the Maloofs' sale of the Kings to Hansen in May 2013 on the basis of the solid plan to keep the team in Sacramento, Hansen financed an effort to derail the Sacramento arena and lied about it until caught.
Having failed to convince the club to accept him, he immediately turned to subterfuge. Maybe you can appreciate his moxie. But I don't see how the NBA can invite him into the gang after he tried to disrupt public financing for another NBA team.
Seattle should have an NBA team. That's never been in dispute. But to get there, the city needs to acknowledge how problematic Hansen has made himself and look for another benefactor. Perhaps that is Tull; perhaps there is someone else. (Unfortunately, Steve Ballmer, the biggest whale Hansen had, is off the table.)
Whether the Hawks should be moved out of Atlanta is a whole 'nother issue. Seattle likes to point to its 41-year history with the SuperSonics as a reason the city should have NBA basketball; the Hawks have been in Atlanta for 46 years. There's also the matter of the publicly financed Philips Arena. The NBA has not shown qualms with leaving such arenas in the past (see: Seattle), but it'd be nice if some attention was paid to that fact.