NBA AM: Grizzlies Sale Still Moving Along
The Grizzlies Sale Still Moving Along: Robert Pera paid current Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley $10 million for the right to buy the his team, so with that non-refundable deposit money in hand, Heisley says he’s not at all concerned with the pace of the transaction and hopes that the deal could close inside the next two months.
“I don’t think it’s dragging on,” Heisley said to Ron Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. “Putting together the financing involving hundreds of millions of dollars is always a complex process. The banking industry is a lot more cautious and it takes a little longer than it did in the past. But I have no reason to believe that it won’t go forward.”
Heisley made a stop in on his team’s informal workouts and talked with a number of players and staffers, mainly doing what he has always done.
“I’m not really worried about whether (the sale) will consummate or not,” Heisley said. “There’s an understanding between me and Mr. Pera that I would go forward and make the decisions that need to be made.
“If there’s any problem, we’ll get together. But he agrees with the way we’ve conducted business. I don’t think that there is anything that has happened that Pera would not agree with what was done.”
Pera’s group received approval from the county commissioners to transfer the team’s contract from Heisley’s group to the new company being formed by Pera and his partners, which includes many of Memphis’ most influential and wealthy personalities. Pera has also lured in pop star and actor Justin Timberlake, who is from Memphis, to be a stake holder.
“I’m tremendously pleased,” Heisley said of the group Pera is assembling.. “I’ve always said since I first got here that the more that people from Memphis are involved the better this situation is. There’s more (Memphians) involved than when I put it together and that’s good. I’m sure they’ll find Pera a great guy to work with.”
Heisley said he will not be a stakeholder in the new group, but after the transaction closes he hopes to stick around.
“If the transaction goes forward, I’ll still be involved as a spectator,” Heisley said. “I’ll have courtside seats and come to a lot of games. That’s my plan. I’m hopeful that I’ll be involved in the Memphis scene for a good while.”
The NBA has not set a time table for approving Pera and his group, although it’s believed that closing a deal won’t happen inside the next month, but possibly inside the next two months.
The NBA has a Board of Governors meeting scheduled for October 25th. It’s unlikely that the Grizzlies sale is complete before that meeting, but an update on the status is likely to take place and a vote via e-mail to approve could come sometime after that meeting.
The Grizzlies are currently sitting on $75.7 million in salaries, making them a luxury tax payer today. It will be interesting to see if new ownership stays the course after shelling out some $350 million to Heisley to buy the team and all of the costs associated with closing this kind of transaction.
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Curry in, Biedrins Out?: Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson held court with reporters yesterday in advance of his team opening training camp next week. The Warriors’ players have been running informal and voluntary workouts at the team’s facility for a few weeks and while Jackson was excited to see the commitment from his guys, he was quick to point out a noticeable absentee.
“At the end of the day, it was a long year last year — it was a tough year for a lot of players,” Jackson said to Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News. “But I’ve got everybody in here, other than Andris Biedrins.”
Biedrins has been a colossal bust since signing his six-year, $62 million contract in 2008. With two years and some $18 million left on his deal, the once promising Biedrins seems to have sealed his fate with his head coach – or at least is starting in the same hole he’s been in for the last two years.
League sources say the Warriors have tried in the past to talk contract buyout, and have tried trading his contract several times over the last two years and have found little interest in either course of action.
While Jackson’s disappointment with Biedrins was clear, his support of oft-injured point guard Steph Curry was equally clear, especially when asked about the role of newly acquired guard Jarrett Jack.
According to Marcus Thompson of the Contra Costa Times, the exchange went something like this:
“He doesn’t have to think about it. Steph Curry’s my starting point guard.”
“Steph Cury is my starting point guard.”
So if he doesn’t play well come January …
“Steph Cury is my starting point guard. I mean, I don’t know what you’re looking for. Steph Curry is my starting point guard.”
The comedic value of the exchange aside, Jackson has been clear for awhile that as long as Curry was healthy, he would be the lead guard for the Warriors. He has been unwavering in his support of Curry.
One thing Jackson did leave room for was both Curry and Jack being on the floor together in alternating one-guard/two-guard roles and that Jack would see ample floor time.
“Jarrett Jack knows his role. He’s going to play,” said Jackson. “He’s going to play both backcourt positions. But Steph Curry is my starting point guard.”
Jackson said the only position that’s really up for grabs is the starting small forward spot, something he says will get worked out in camp.
Rookie Harrison Barnes is the odds on favorite to land the job, although Jackson said he’ll have to beat out others for the spot and that’s something he wants to see “take care of itself”.
The Warriors officially open training camp on October 2nd at their practice facility in Oakland.
Psst… : As Publisher of HOOPSWORLD, there are times when I am the bearer of bad news, but occasionally I get to share some good news… If you have been a long-time reader of HOOPSWORLD, you may recall a few years ago when we lost truly one of our best voices in Travis Heath. I am excited to announce we are getting Travis back this season. For those of you who do not know who Travis is, he’s a practicing Psychologist, a professor and a former adviser and scout for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Travis will be doing some writing and some chatting starting next week. I for one am thrilled to have Travis back with the family and I am sure you’ll enjoy what he’ll bring to the table.
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