HoopsHype Robert Pera rumors

November 6, 2012 Updates
November 5, 2012 Updates

Pera said he wants to make FedExForum the most technologically advanced arena in the country. He said he wants to use advanced analytics to evaluate players, like the sort used in "Moneyball." He said he wants to build a player-centric culture in Memphis, so players will think of Memphis as a destination. And, yes, at this last one, I rolled my eyes, too. But that's the thing about youth. It tends to dream big. That's supposed to be a good thing, isn't it? Besides, Pera doesn't come across as rash and impulsive, but thoughtful and deliberate. He picked Levien to essentially run the franchise, on the business and basketball sides. The two of them won't make any decisions about Chris Wallace, Greg Campbell or Lionel Hollins until they have a chance to see how the team operates. "We were focused on closing the deal," he said. "We want to learn more." Memphis Commercial Appeal

Jason Levien remembers the first time he played basketball with Robert Pera. They were in Taiwan. They decided to go to opposite ends of the court to warm up. "I look down there, and he's throwing it down," said Levien. Yes, Memphians. Your new Grizzlies owner can dunk. He's 6-3 and can get off the deck. He looks like he could be starting at forward for Rhodes or CBU. Now he's sitting in a luxury box in FedExForum, talking about his plans for his new NBA team. Someone asks him if he's met any of the Grizzlies players yet. "I met some, when we came here in March," he said. "But they might have thought I was Heisley's grandson." Memphis Commercial Appeal

Memphis Grizzlies Chairman Robert Pera announced today that he has named seasoned sports executive Jason Levien as the new Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner of Memphis Basketball, LLC, which operates the Memphis Grizzlies and FedExForum. In this role, Levien will have leadership responsibility for the entire organization; serve as the ownership group's Managing Partner and as an Alternate NBA Governor. “Jason and I share a vision for building a world-class team on and off-the-court,” Grizzlies Chairman Robert Pera said. “He has my complete trust, confidence and support in how best to lead our organization's efforts." Sulia

Levien will serve as CEO of Memphis Basketball LLC -- an entity that owns the Grizzlies and will operate FedExForum. Levien is expected to supplant general manager Chris Wallace as the primary decision maker for basketball decisions. "We haven't decided anything," Levien said Sunday in an interview with The Commercial Appeal. "We want to be thoughtful about it and respectful about it. We want to do what's best for the organization." Memphis Commercial Appeal

Among the highlights from the 45-minute interview with Pera and Levien: -- The group will get to know coach Lionel Hollins, who is in the final year of his contract, before acting on his future. Levien, the CEO and managing partner, will be over general manager Chris Wallace, and his exact role has not been determined. Memphis Commercial Appeal

Robert Pera saw how others handled their wealth once they become successful, spending it on new cars or multimillion dollar homes. Those things weren't for him. "For me, I just really like working," Pera said Sunday, in his first public comments since agreeing earlier this year to buy the Memphis Grizzlies. "And those things don't interest me that much. But being involved in the NBA, and potentially owning a team, that was a dream. Once I got to a position where that seemed possible, I started the process." Memphis Commercial Appeal

Pera, who wore jeans, Nikes and a hooded sweatshirt, said he looked at several teams before deciding to purchase the Griz. He and Levien visited Memphis on March 27, when the Griz played the Timberwolves, and Pera said he sensed the "energy" and the team's meaning to the city. That helped sell him not just on the team, but on its potential to make more of a connection, he said. Memphis Commercial Appeal

November 4, 2012 Updates

New Memphis Grizzlies owner Robert Pera will announce on Monday that Philadelphia 76ers minority shareholder Jason Levien is joining the Grizzlies as the club's new CEO and managing partner, according to sources familiar with Pera's thinking. ESPN.com

Sources told ESPN.com that Levien, who recently sold his stake in the Sixers to join Pera's ownership group, will take charge of basketball operations as well as the Grizzlies' business department. That means the former NBA agent and front-office executive with the Sacramento Kings, sources say, will have the ultimate say on personnel and on-court matters, overseeing Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace and coach Lionel Hollins. Hollins is in the final year of his contract after back-to-back trips to the playoffs. ESPN.com

Levien was part of the Joshua Harris-led group that purchased the 76ers leading into the 2011-12 season. Sources say that Levien, in addition to his new post operating the Grizzlies, will continue in his role as general partner of DC United in Major League Soccer, which he assumed in July when he and fellow Sixers minority owner Erick Thohir purchased the MLS club. ESPN.com

November 1, 2012 Updates

The Memphis Grizzlies have changed owners officially, and the new bosses want to make clear their commitment to staying in Tennessee very clear. "The Grizzlies are here to stay in Memphis," new Grizzlies chairman Robert J. Pera said. The Grizzlies announced Wednesday that the reported $377 million sale by Michael Heisley had been finalized to a group led by Pera, a former Apple engineer who founded the communications technology company Ubiquiti Networks. The group includes local businessmen, entertainer Justin Timberlake, Memphis native and former NBA player Penny Hardaway, a former U.S. congressman and Ashley Manning, wife of four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning. ESPN.com

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