February 2001 Vancouver Grizzlies Wiretap

What Speed for New Arena?

Aug 30, 2001 1:59 AM

The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports the public building authority that will oversee construction of Memphis' new arena had its first planning meeting Monday.  It was immediately faced with two competing viewpoints of how to proceed.  Russ Simons, general manager of Nashville's Gaylord Center said it took three years to plan and build the Gaylord.  Anything less would result in mistakes which would add greater costs later.  

On the other hand, Grizzlies' owner Michael Heisley argued that the arena should be ready in two years time, saying that the team needs to get into the new arena to minimize operating losses expected while the Grizzlies are using The Pyramid. While the city and county would have to pay a $3 million penalty if the arena isn't ready for the 2003-2004 season, Heisley said, "I assure you the team will end up spending three times $3 million in the form of losses if we stay in The Pyramid another year,"  Where have we heard Heisley complain about losing money before?

Tags: Memphis Grizzlies, NBA

Gasol Buy-out Negotiated?

Aug 28, 2001 1:30 PM

A story from Telebasket reports that Barcelona and Memphis have agreed on a revised deal to allow Pau Gasol to join the Grizzlies this season.  The latest arrangement has the Grizzlies playing an exhibition game in Barcelona against Gasol's old team, presumably with proceeds going to Barcelona.

Nothing has been reported on the story in the Memphis papers yet.  Also, the agreement seems contrary to the CBA.  Gasol owes Barcelona in the neighborhood of $2.5-2.8 million, and the Grizzlies are only allowed to pay up to $350,000.  Any subsequent amount paid by the Grizzlies counts as a signing bonus, and would be subtracted from Gasol's contract (pro-rated over three years).  There's probably lots of action going on behind the scenes between Memphis and the NBA.  We'll let you know as we hear more.

Tags: Memphis Grizzlies, NBA

Gasol Buy-Out Near?

Aug 24, 2001 2:46 AM

Pau Gasol may be near a buy-out with his Barcelona team.  The information is from Telebasket, a European site.  Their translation is a bit rough, so it's not always easy to determine exactly what they mean.  If you can figure this out, you'll know as much as anyone else:  "Pau Gasol and Barcelona is closely together to close the agreement that will allow to the one of Sant Boi to comprise of the Memphis Grizzlies if he is committed to again dress the Barcelona's t-shirt if he returns to the European basketball."  The reference to 'Barcelona's t-shirt' is that part of the deal includes Gasol returning to Barcelona if he plays basketball outside the NBA.  Grizwold will have more Telebasket coverage of Gasol in an upcoming Furballs article on RealGM.

Tags: Memphis Grizzlies, NBA

Fizer to Australia

Aug 24, 2001 1:37 AM

So Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders finally gets Marcus Fizer anyway.  No, there has been no Wally/Marcus swap (yet?).  Fizer will be joining Team USA in Australia next week in Melbourne after replacing Warriors Free Agent Marc Jackson, who was forced to withdraw from the team because of serious health problems with a member of his family.

``We?re going down there to win the gold,?? said coach Flip Saunders said. ``We?ve got a short training camp, so you got to simplify some things.??  The United States will train for a week in Melbourne starting Saturday, then head north to Brisbane where the Americans play their first game against Mexico on Sept. 3.

Tags: Chicago Bulls, Memphis Grizzlies, NBA

Arena Site Selected

Aug 22, 2001 2:58 AM

Deborah Clubb reports in the Memphis Commercial Appeal that city and county politicians have agreed on a site for the new $250 million arena to be build for the new basketball team.  City Mayor Willie Herenton had supported a location between Linden and Beale streets, while Shelby County Mayor Jim Rout had supported a location on nearby Union Street.  After a two month delay, it is expected the Linden site will be announced at a press conference Wednesday.

Although the Union site may have been a better location, it's main disadvantage was that a number of businesses would have to be relocated or bought out.  In addition, three 8-foot to 15-foot-high tunnels of the city's stormwater drainage system run beneath the Union site, which would have added significant expense.

In a related story, one of Jim Rout's nominee's for the construction oversite committee was rejected.  Charles Dennis is president of a builders' association currently suing the city.  Also, renovations to the Pyramid are moving forward.  They include $1.63M for home team locker room facilities for the Grizzlies and $1 million for a "super suite" club area.

Tags: Memphis Grizzlies, NBA

Trying to Generate Interest...

Aug 21, 2001 3:25 AM

After all the buzz about the Grizzlies arriving in Memphis, it's now time for the team to start making money.  It's easier said than done.  Season ticket sales have only reached the 7 - 8,000 range.  Ron Huggins suggests, "The front office needs badly to get some players in town to personally take the message to the streets."  Unfortunately the CBA requires local player appearances, but not during the off-season.  Huggins also suggests expanding the team's market to include outlying areas within three hours of Memphis.

The team is currently negotiating TV and radio coverage.  It expects to televise about 70 games, evenly split between a cable network and a regular channel.  Although the team will get more than the league-low $2 million it got in Vancouver, it won't be close to what big-market teams get.  They expect to start making announcements in a couple of weeks.

Tags: Memphis Grizzlies, NBA

Appeals court: Public money can be spent on arena

Aug 18, 2001 8:55 PM

From ESPN.com Wire services: City and county plans to spend public money on a $250 million arena for Memphis' new NBA team were upheld by a state appeals court Friday.

A three-judge panel overturned a lower court ruling that said a public vote was needed on those spending plans.

The city and county plan to build the arena for the Grizzlies, who are moving from Vancouver to Memphis.

Tags: Memphis Grizzlies, NBA

Grizzlies' top pick still stuck in Spain

Aug 18, 2001 7:15 PM

Don Wade of the Commercial Appeal reports that the Grizzlies are still waiting to welcome first-round pick Pau Gasol to the States. The team has not been able to sign Gasol to his contract because he has not completed a buyout of his contract with a pro team in Barcelona. NBA rules allow the Grizzlies to pay $350,000 of the buyout, but the rest of the terms are up to Gasol and his representatives to negotiate.

''We've been stalemated because of the buyout,'' Grizzlies general manager Billy Knight said. ''Obviously, he'd like to lessen the buyout (the team started by asking for a reported $2.5 million) and the team would like to retain his rights for when he is through in the NBA.

Grizzlies director of player personnel Tony Barone was optimistic about the situation, saying, ''It's moving the direction it needs to move.''

''It's getting pretty close,'' added Knight. ''It'll be taken care of by the start of training camp, I feel comfortable with that.''

Tags: Memphis Grizzlies, NBA

Choosing Arena Site Difficult

Aug 13, 2001 1:48 AM

It's a complex issue in Memphis, and they've only got two weeks to resolve it.  They need to choose between two downtown locations for the new $250 million arena.  Shelby County Mayor Jim Rout appears to favor a site on Union Avenue.  This site received the support of a technical group, which said it was better for 16 of 21 criteria they considered.

But Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton says there are 'political' problems with the site, since 15 business with 240 employees would have to be moved out.  His council has taken an initial vote supporting a site on nearby Linden Street.  The city has to pay the Grizzlies $3.75 million if the new arena is not ready for the start of the 2003/04 season.

Tags: Memphis Grizzlies, NBA