Since the announcement of the Atlanta Hawks' sale from the Atlanta Spirit Group to Los Angeles businessman Alex Meruelo, the NBA's Board of Governors has officially approved a just-completed sale of the Philadelphia 76ers, yet the Hawks' future has seemed to have stalled.
Neither the Spirit Group nor Meruelo is speaking about what's held up the approval process, but using the Spirit Group's initial acquisition of the Hawks and defunct Atlanta Thrashers from Time Warner seven years ago as an example, the AJC speculates that it's an issue of money:
While Meruelo and Atlanta Spirit decline to comment on the sale approval process, citing NBA rules, the Spirit’s 2004 purchase of the Hawks and Thrashers from Time Warner provides a case study of the complications than can ensnare such deals, particularly when money-losing franchises are involved.
As a condition of approval in 2004, the NBA and NHL required several Spirit partners to put up tens of millions of dollars in personal financial guarantees to ensure liquidity to guard against potential future team losses. The buyers eventually satisfied the requirement, but doing so forced a complex reworking of the deal.
Because of the still-pending sale, the Hawks are being officially represented by the Spirit Group at all league meetings pertaining to the Lockout.