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Grizzlies' owner willing to sell

Mar 8, 2010, 10:58 AM EDT

You can own the Memphis Grizzlies, all you need is a spare $250 million or so. Start checking the cushions in the couch for some spare change, you’re just about there.

Owner Michael Heisley is willing to sell, if the price is right, he said in a recent interview with the Commercial Appeal.

I’m 73 years of age. My family is not going to take over this basketball team. My point is very simple. If the right person makes a reasonable offer for the team I will sell it. If the minority (local) owners want to come up with a reasonable offer, I would love to sell it to them. I think they would make great owners. If it’s not to be, it’s not to be.

Quite frankly, I don’t have to sell this team. I’m not in any financial difficulty. We have to be a model for what has to be done in the new era of pro basketball when teams are losing the kind of money they’re losing. Some people have got to be more fiscally responsible. We’ve lived within the rules. I’ve taken the heat. Everybody says I’m cheap. But I’ve shown that it does you no good to just go out and spend huge amounts of money.

Heisley owns a good young team, but one that has some financial challenges coming up — keeping Rudy Gay this summer, for one. They can match any offer for Gay, but will they want to if another team that misses out on the big three decides to overspend to get him?

Memphis has built a good foundation on and off the court, but they are the quintessential small market team — they are never going to make big revenue from television rights. According to Forbes, they also only generate about $322,000 a game in gate receipts (compare that to the Lakers who pull in nearly $2 million a game). If you’re going to build the Grizzlies into a winner, you’ll have to do it by being smarter than everyone else.

Of course, everyone reading this knows they are smarter than everyone else, so if you have that $250 million laying around…

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