Now there's a second reports from "league sources" saying that the Atlanta Hawks are close to being sold to a mysterious bidder.
NBA.com's David Aldridge reports that a "single, anonymous bidder" is looking to pay about $300 million for the Hawks and presumably the operating rights to Philips Arena and that the transaction is "close" to closing. However, as Aldridge points out, the deal will not be finalized in time for an approval vote by the Board of Governors at its meeting on Tuesday in the NBA championship city of Dallas.
Under the terms of the deal, much like a bad penny -- the Atlanta Spirit was expected to remain in a minority ownership capacity.
Aldridge and SI.com's stories fly in the face of what the Atlanta Spirit is telling us. Of course, the Atlanta Spirit has told us a lot of things about the Atlanta Thrashers sale process, many of which turned out to be less than truthful.
For whatever it's worth, the Spirit claims that there is no deal in place and that no one has entered into an exclusive negotiating period to buy the team, which generally happens during the traditional purchase process (unless you're moving a hockey team to Winnipeg).
The NBA.com report also states that the founders of Outback Steakhouse also put a bid on the team, but it was "unclear" how much they offered or if they were ever "seriously considered."