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Archive for Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Grizzlies to move their offices to Memphis

June 20, 2001

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— The Vancouver Grizzlies are moving their basketball operations to Memphis, even though the NBA has yet to approve the team's relocation.

The move will begin this weekend, the team said Tuesday.

"With the NBA draft taking place Wednesday, June 27, we feel this is the best time to begin working out of Memphis," said Grizzlies general manager Billy Knight.

The team's business office will move later if the league approves the relocation. That decision is expected soon, perhaps by the end of the week.

Basketball operations include the team's coaching, scouting and training staffs as well as Knight and president Dick Versace.

The Grizzlies will hold individual workouts over the weekend with draft prospects, including Jason Richardson, Kwame Brown, Eddy Curry and Trenton Hassell.

The team has the sixth, 27th, 33rd and 48th picks in the draft.

The Grizzlies plan a minicamp June 29-July 1 and a rookie free agent camp July 2-5. The franchise will also have a team in summer leagues in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City.

"We have an extremely busy summer ahead of us, and we feel it makes sense for us to operate out of Memphis as soon as possible," Knight said.

If the relocation is approved, the team will begin play in Memphis at The Pyramid, a sports and entertainment arena along the downtown riverfront.

League and team officials say a new $250 million arena is a must for the Grizzlies to move.

The city and county have approved preliminary plans for that arena, which is to be built primarily with public money.

A citizens' group is circulating petitions, however, for a referendum on public spending for the arena. The group has about two weeks to gather voter signatures to force the referendum.

NBA boosters oppose the referendum, saying it could kill the move by delaying decisions on the arena.

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