By embattled partner Steve Belkin, his 30% stake in the Atlanta Spirit LLC, which owns the Hawks and the Thrashers. As the Hawks' representative on the NBA board of governors, Belkin blocked a deal in which Atlanta would have given up two first-round picks and guard Boris Diaw for Phoenix's Joe Johnson (SI, Aug. 15). The bickering between Belkin and the other eight partners eventually led the group to court. Representatives for Belkin and the other owners met last week in New York City, and according to a source close to the talks, he initially agreed to approve the deal to keep his position on the board of governors. When it became clear that there was lingering resentment toward him, he offered to buy out his partners. They refused, and at the league's urging, Belkin agreed to sell his share to them. In exchange the league promised Belkin it would work with him on purchasing controlling interest in another team. "This is a sad day for me," said Belkin. "I wish all involved success in the future."
By the NCAA for $56.5 million, the rights to the preseason and postseason NIT tournaments. Four years ago the NCAA was sued by the five New York City colleges that run the NIT tournaments, which said the NCAA was trying to put the postseason NIT out of business. (The NIT is a year older than the NCAA tournament, and for a time was more prestigious.) Under the terms of the deal, which ends the litigation, both NIT tournaments will be held at Madison Square Garden for at least the next five years. "We found a way to go forward," said NCAA president Myles Brand. "This is a significant agreement."