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New Hawks Owner Alex Meruelo Locked Out From Answering Real Questions

It seems like every time new Hawks owner-to-be Alex Meruelo tries to answer a question, he gets locked out from giving a straight answer.

The new potential owner of the Hawks talked to the AJC's Michael Cunningham about the purchase of his newest toy -- an NBA basketball team. And it seemed like Meruelo, who may or may not be the the future majority owner of the lone major tenant left at Philips Arena got no closer to answering a question that Hawks fans might actually care about before the invisible hand of David Stern Meruelo's advisers cut the casino, television, construction and real estate titan off at the pass.

"We have people that run the [basketball] operations of the Hawks," Meruelo told Cunningham. "What I am hoping to do is ..."

And just like that, Meruelo's "people" silenced the Atlanta owner, reminding him that what he was going to do was a "prohibited subject," leaving Hawks fans to wait -- likely until that silly NBA lockout thing is over -- about Meruelo's philosophy.

What we do know is that Meruelo is a "very hands-on" guy in his other business arrangements.

And this was one heck of a "business arrangement."

It's rumored that Meruelo may have gotten close to no real money down and more like assumption of debt deal to potentially liberate the city from the scourge that is the Atlanta Spirit -- the least honest ownership group in North American professional sports.* The aforementioned Spirit -- who was crying poverty when they dumped the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg now was so flush with cash that they could arrange owner financing for 40-percent of the $300 million "enterprise value" deal for the Hawks.

While the sale is expected to close with a vote of the NBA's Board of Governors at some point during the summer of NBA lockout discontent, Hawks fans probably still won't have a clue as to their new majority owner's basketball philosophy.

Meruelo may be able to make personnel decisions on GM Rick Sund and coach Larry Drew after the deal closes.. But don't expect much of a comment about what Meruelo wants to do about adding players or even salary. The last thing the new Hawks owner wants is to invoke the ire of Stern, who would welcome him to the league with a nice hefty fine.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.