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Archive for Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Grizzlies owner ready to take team off market

April 17, 2007

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— Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley said Monday he will take the team off the market if he does not have an offer to buy it by May 1.

If the schedule holds, it will mean the end of Heisley's yearlong effort to sell the franchise, an uncertainty that has played into a dismal season for the NBA's worst team.

"I'm just basically tired, and I'm a little worn out," Heisley said of the decision. "I'm going to get re-involved, and we are basically going to run the team."

Heisley's announcement came during a news conference before the Grizzlies played the San Antonio Spurs.

The ownership question has been one of the issues hanging over the franchise this season. Coach Mike Fratello was fired in December, questions have lingered about the future of team president of basketball operations Jerry West, and leading-scorer Pau Gasol requested a trade. And the team's poor play has contributed to declining attendance.

Former Duke players Brian Davis and Christian Laettner tried to buy the team, but they couldn't come up with the $252 million needed to purchase Heisley's controlling share or the $360 million necessary to purchase the team.

Heisley said he has talked to two or three groups about the sale, but nothing has been accomplished.

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