WSB Sports Director Zach Klein is reporting that despite reports swirling around Atlanta that the Hawks and Philips Arena are for sale, Atlanta Hawks GM Rick Sund will return as the team's general manager next year according to an unnamed source within the NBA.
According to Klein, Sund signed a 3-year contract with an option for a fourth year to be the GM of the team back in 2008. The source says that the option has been picked up, despite reports swirling around the organization that there is an exclusive negotiating period in place to possibly sell the team and the operating rights to Philips Arena to San Diego Padres owner John Moores.
Sources that identified Moores told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday that a deal to sell the Hawks and Philips was not close to being completed and that it was far from assured that the deal will get done.
Exclusive negotiating periods are common in professional sports sales. Just because one is signed it does not mean that the team will be sold. Just like the milk in your fridge, exclusive negotiating periods have expiration dates. The AJC's sources do not know when this reported period will end.
Typically during an exclusive negotiating period, a seller, like the Atlanta Spirit -- the entity that owns the Hawks, the Atlanta Thrashers and the operating rights to Philips Arena -- is not supposed to talk to other people who want to buy the team.
Of course, anything can be written into these agreements and it is not known whether there's an out clause that would allow the Spirit to talk to someone like Michigan venture capitalist J.B. Smith, who claims to be talking to Thrashers President Don Waddell about buying "all 3."
That's a good question for the Spirit to answer.
The AJC reports that Moores grew up in Texas and served as chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Carter Center from 2005-09.