MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - $350 million is the price tag on the sale of the Memphis Grizzlies. Majority owner Michael Heisley says he's selling the team to a California billionaire.
It's the talk of the City of Memphis and sports radio. Host of The Gary Parish Show on 92.9FM, Gary Parrish began his afternoon sports show by telling his listeners, "I hope you always dreamed about having an owner for your NBA franchise who's younger than most of you listening because that's where we're headed right now."
Parish says Heisley received an eight figure deposit from Pera Monday afternoon, "It does look legit."
California billionaire, 34-year-old Robert Pera, is the new, possible owner, of the Memphis Grizzlies. ESPN reporter Marc Stein broke the story Monday afternoon. "I do think this turn around in the last couple years has made this a more attractive property," Stein says.
Pera is listed by Forbes as one of the 10 youngest billionaires in the world. He's a basketball fanatic who plays at least five times a week. He toured the FedExForum in March and in a release Monday night addressed many fans' biggest concern, saying, "I look forward to getting to know the Memphis community and to continuing the team's success in Memphis." The Grizzlies have a tight contract with the FedExForum through 2021.
Stein says with an expensive payout to break the lease, "The teams not going anywhere for the next 10-12 years, what plays out over that time is what will determine the team's future more than anything."
Parrish says at this point he's not sure if Pera will be good or bad for the Grizzlies and for Memphis, "The hope was that a local ownership group would step up and keep the franchise here with local ties, that clearly is not going to be the case now but it doesn't have to mean a bad thing, we're just going to have to wait and see how this plays out."
The deal is subject to approval by the NBA board of governors.