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Californian Alex Meruelo Says He Doesn't Want To Move Hawks

There's an easy conspiracy theory narrative in a Los Angeles businessman buying the Atlanta Hawks shortly after another NBA ownership group attempted to move its club to Anaheim. Especially once you remember the current Hawks owners just shipped another pro team out of town.

But Alex Meruelo is pretty emphatic about having no desire to move the team out of Atlanta, telling Tim Tucker, "Absolutely no," when asked whether he'd consider relocation. Take his word if you want, but haven't owners moved teams after saying things like that before?

Contrary to one popular rumor the Hawks can be moved, though it would cost such a grip one would have to be insane to attempt it. But let's look at the bigger picture for a sec.

David Stern, for all his flaws, would rather eat a sewer grate than follow Gary Bettman in abandoning the capital of the Southeastern United States.

If you think the NBA is going to give up on a city that's proven to be a solid pro basketball market despite having a team that's failed to capture local (or national) attention for most of the past 20 years, you're out of your mind. This is a diverse city in a large media market that's home to a major NBA TV partner. The Hawks aren't the Braves or the Arthur Blank Falcons, but they're still embedded in the city, mostly thanks simply to the sport that they play.

Some of the same stuff was said about the Thrashers? There were plenty of reasons to believe hockey could catch on, but there were also reasons to believe it wouldn't. There's no need to wait for the NBA to catch on here. When the Hawks are at all compelling, they draw fans.

The idea of the Hawks relocating to Anaheim is so ridiculous I can't believe I just wrote more than two words about it.

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