HoopsHype Michael Heisley rumors

June 11, 2012 Updates

While Heisley said it has never come up with Pera about whether the team will or will not eventually move, Heisley stressed it would be almost impossible for the Grizzlies to get out of their lease with the city to use FedExForum before it expires in 2021. “This has nothing to do with either staying or it’s moving,’’ Heisley said. “We still have … nine years left on a contract with the city to stay in the city. I have not yet figured how people … think somebody is going to buy the team and leave. It’s going to be here for a while.’’ However, Heisley did acknowledge, “We can’t make somebody stay here forever.’’ FOXSports Florida

Pera is the founder and CEO of Ubiquiti Networks, a publicly traded communications technology company. Just 34 years old, he was a wireless engineer with Apple before leaving the technology giant in 2005 to start Ubiquiti, which went public in 2011, making Pera a billionaire. SheridanHoops

After two consecutive trips to the playoffs and a return to respectability in the Western Conference, Michael Heisley has found a buyer to purchase the Memphis Grizzlies, according to sources with knowledge of the owner's plans. Sources told ESPN.com that Heisley has an agreement in principle to sell the team to communications technology magnate Robert Pera, who at 34 has a spot on Forbes' list of the 10 youngest billionaries in the world. ESPN.com

The purchase price is in the $350 million range, sources said. A formal announcement to publicize the agreement between the parties is expected this week, possibly as soon as later Monday, with NBA Board of Governors approval then required before Pera can be officially installed as successor to Heisley, who recently turned 75. Sources say that Pera intends to keep the team in Memphis. The Grizzlies' lease at the FedExForum, furthermore, ties the team to the city until the year 2021, with steep financial penalties attached to breaking that lease. ESPN.com

June 8, 2012 Updates

“We’re not looking to trade Rudy Gay,” Heisley said. “We’re not shopping him around. Period. Do we sit around and say ‘What if we traded Rudy, who could we get?’ No. Right now, Rudy is part of the future of this team.” Memphis Commercial Appeal

“Yes, people have called us to ask about Rudy,” Heisley said. “Obviously, we need to seriously look at strengthening the team. But Rudy is the only player we have who can get his shot any time and any place on the floor. You can’t afford to get rid of him and not bring in somebody who can do more. I think Chris has to be open-minded about everybody on the roster. But I don’t know how else I can say this: There is no plan to trade Rudy Gay.” Memphis Commercial Appeal

May 15, 2012 Updates

Heisley included coach Lionel Hollins among the team's returning assets. Heisley sounded baffled by the criticism Hollins has received regarding his rotations in the playoffs. "There's a helluva lot more to coaching than just lineups," Heisley said. "Please tell the people in Memphis to stop looking for a scapegoat because there is none. I have no less opinion of Lionel Hollins. The reality is Lionel has more knowledge about professional basketball in one finger than I have in my body. Memphis Commercial Appeal

"How can people blame Lionel? The way he brought those young kids along. ... What do people want me to do, get rid of the coach? It's ridiculous. You can't go with more than what got you there. He's the best coach we've ever had because we had the best record we've ever had." Memphis Commercial Appeal

March 29, 2012 Updates

Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley reiterated today his doubt that the franchise will be sold anytime soon. How can Heisley be so sure? He’s instructed his attorney, Stan Meadows, to stop negotiating with Oracle founder Larry Ellison because of Ellison’s repeated overtures about relocating the team. “We’re not even considering Ellison,” Heisley said. “This team cannot be moved.” Memphis Commercial Appeal

March 26, 2012 Updates

The Grizzlies have raised their game. Now Memphis fans have to raise their game. That was the gist of a four-hour meeting Saturday of team owner Michael Heisley, his top executives, and several Memphis business and community leaders. The meeting was prompted by, among other things, recent reports that Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is interested in buying the team and possibly moving it to California. The newly created advisory board or local board of directors — the title is not yet clear — met in an office at FedEx Forum. This account is based on interviews with participants Kevin Kane and Henry Turley. Others at the meeting were Stan Meadows, Chris Wallace, and Greg Campbell representing Heisley and the Grizzlies, and Memphians Pitt Hyde (a minority owner) Bryan Jordan, Lawrence Plummer, Billy Orgel, Otis Sanford, Bob Henning, and Joe Hall, the head of a public relations firm in Nashville that worked with NBA NOW 12 years ago. Absent were Staley Cates, Willie Gregory, and Beverly Robertson. Memphis Flyer

Heisley fielded questions and emphasized that he would like to see the team remain in Memphis indefinitely. But he said he is 75 years old and is going to sell the team eventually. He said the team loses money. His asking price is $350 million. "There was no threat," said Kane, who is acting as chairman of the new board. "Everybody knows Memphis is a vulnerable market." Memphis Flyer

The Grizzlies hope to duplicate the success of San Antonio and Oklahoma City as winning teams in cities with a single major-league team. The most vulnerable teams, along with Memphis, are considered to be New Orleans, Charlotte, and Sacramento. The richest teams are the Lakers, Knicks, and Heat, which can buy the best players. "Memphis probably needs the Grizzlies more than the Grizzlies need Memphis," said Kane. "The Grizzlies are a strategic asset for the region, like FedEx, AutoZone, MLGW, or the airport." Memphis Flyer

March 17, 2012 Updates

Californian Larry Ellison, ranked as the third-richest person in the U.S., has inquired about buying the Memphis Grizzlies with apparent hopes of moving the team to San Jose. But majority team owner Michael Heisley today downplayed the possibility of a sale — and of a relocation, citing a lease that ties the franchise to Memphis and FedExForum until 2021. Memphis Commercial Appeal

“I can’t downplay it enough. If it happens I’ll be surprised,” said Heisley, a Chicago-based billionaire who added that talks had not become serious. “It’s in the initial stages. We’ve handled this just like we’ve handled several other dozen requests. My situation in Memphis has not changed a lick. My preference will always be for somebody in Memphis to buy the team. There’s not any interest in Memphis. But we’ve always made it known that if somebody wants to buy the team, we’ll listen. If they’re real buyers we’ll probably be sellers. So far there hasn’t been anyone willing to buy the team under my terms and for my price.” Memphis Commercial Appeal

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