In October, the NBA signed a $2.7 billion-per-season media deal with Walt Disney's ESPN/ABC and Time Warner's TNT which is expected to pay out to the front office in 2016.
Citing those two factors, Rishe said he expects the Hawks to sell in the $750 million to $1 billion range. An owner of a rival NBA team who requested anonymity told CNBC that he believes the team will sell for just about $900 million to $1 billion—putting it at a reasonable six-times sales multiple.
Read MoreStern: Dish's ESPN deal is no threat to the NBA
Sports industry expert Scott Rosner, who teaches at the Wharton School, also said he believes the team will sell for about $1 billion. He pointed out that without Ballmer's skyrocketing Clippers purchase, the Hawks would probably go for $750 million-$800 million. But he thinks a $900 million price is justifiable by economics alone. The NBA's national TV deal was completed after the Bucks purchase, at a price much higher than people forecast.
Moreover, some buyers with ties to the Atlanta area may not be focused on purely rational economics. Potential buyers that have been floated publicly and privately include:
Chris Webber, former NBA player, current TNT analyst and Atlanta resident
Dominique Wilkins, Hawks legend
Doug Davis, media and entertainment lawyer, who has represented NBA start Metta World Peace and Atlanta-rapper Lil Jon
The Hawks were purchased from Time Warner in 2004 for $208 million by a group of businessmen who formed Atlanta Spirit LLC. The team has made the playoffs for six straight seasons and has about $150 million in revenue, but has never won a championship.
Ticket prices in Atlanta averaged in the bottom quarter of the league at $35.26 each, according to the Team Marketing Report. The average price of a Los Angeles Clippers ticket is $78.43.
Read MoreMark Cuban rips high-frequency trading
Another consideration is the long-term local cable deal the Hawks signed with SportSouth. The $30 million-per-year deal could prove attractive for potential buyers.
Factors not in the Hawks' favor include Philips Arena. The sale will reportedly include a remaining $124 million in debt on the facility—a home court that the team does not own. Unlike the Bucks, however, the Hawks don't need a new building.
The Atlanta market itself also doesn't work in the team's favor.
"Atlanta is not a great sports market" said Rishe, who added that people there "don't embrace the local teams, and that's not something that's going to change with new ownership."