Stern affidavit could clear way for Johnson deal - News - EVTNow

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Stern affidavit could clear way for Johnson deal

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NBA commissioner David Stern submitted an affidavit Thursday supporting the efforts by the majority of the Atlanta Hawks owners to remove Steve Belkin as the team’s NBA governor.

The majority of the Atlanta Spirit LLC group has requested that Belkin be replaced with Michael Gearon Jr., as NBA governor, the member of the group who must sign off on all trades.

The effort to remove Belkin, who owns 30 percent of the team, followed his refusal to approve the team’s attempted sign-and-trade for guard Joe Johnson of the Phoenix Suns.

The owners sought assistance from Stern after Boston judge Allan van Gestel granted Belkin’s request for a temporary injunction Tuesday. The judge said a contract signed by all the owners last year prevents other members of the ownership group from voting Belkin out.

The judge instructed the majority of the owners to seek a ruling from Stern, saying that a precondition of any removal was the approval of the commissioner.

If van Gestel moves quickly to issue a new ruling to lift the injunction, the NBA’s board of governors could act as soon as Friday to approve Gearon as the team’s new governor, according to Atlanta Spirit CEO Bernie Mullin.

‘‘Our ownership is very appreciative of the support from Commissioner David Stern,’’ Mullin said Thursday.

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