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As Atlanta Thrashers Move Nears, Hawks Sale 'Negotiations' Reportedly End

The Atlanta Spirit Group has been negotiating for the sale of the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena for about a week or so with John Moores, a former San Diego Padres owner. That exclusive negotiating period has ended without a sale, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Tim Tucker.

Of course, the Hawks were never actually for sale.

One opinion: this was a convenient way for the ASG to cover its ass as it looked to unload the Atlanta Thrashers elsewhere. Leaving the option open for a local buyer to purchase all three properties -- no matter how unlikely the emergence of such a buyer may have been -- could've prolonged the negotiated move beyond its unknown deadline and given someone a chance to show that hockey can work in Atlanta, thus proving beyond all doubt that the ownership of this team has been a failure.

There's really no other way to see this one. The group has been trying to dump the Thrashers for years and has never made any move to sell the Hawks, though they have looked for investors. They happened to put the Hawks on the block for one week or so to one man while the Thrashers sale to True North wrapped up.

Check back with SB Nation Atlanta's frequently updated Thrashers sale StoryStream for the latest updates. For discussion, join Bird Watchers Anonymous, SB Nation's Atlanta Thrashers community or head to one of our 34 other hockey communities. For more hockey, visit SB Nation's NHL hub.

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