Thursday, March 27, 2008

Searching for Something to Hold On To

I wonder what cell phone service Larry Brown uses and why he hasn't ever been approached to do one of those ads that say:

I need a phone that works were I work...a place called CarDenUCLANewKanSanClipPacadeltroitYork

and does that work in Tennessee?
Rumors abound that Marc Iavaroni is going to be fired and replaced by Larry Brown.

Yes the same Larry Brown who refused to play Darko Milicic as a rookie (or a sophomore for that matter). The same Larry Brown who has a reputation of destroying point guards confidence. The same Larry Brown how has been accused of never playing young players (and in case you haven't noticed, Memphis has a lot of young players).

Of course vagabond head coach Larry Brown is the least of the worries of Memphis fans right now. If you want to read a nice blog about the problems with hiring Larry Brown try reading Chris Herrington's newest blog (yes he is back blogging). There is even bigger news in the air today.

Tops on the anxiety list is the question of why Pitt Hyde, Staley Cates and the rest of the local ownership group chose to decrease their holdings in the Grizzlies from 30% to 5.8%.

And that wasn't the bad news.

The story that broke yesterday sent shivers down most Grizz fans backs as they learned that the saving grace for Memphis, the local owners right to match any outside offer for the team, had also been surrendered. This means that is someone matches Mike Heisley's price for the team (rumored to be all the tea in China but not confirmed yet) can buy the Grizzlies without anyone from Memphis being able to stop it.

This doesn't mean that the team can be moved right away. The contract with the city is not affected by this development. The contract with the city runs through 2021.
"There's always going to be a certain percentage of people who are going to be fearful of (the Grizzlies leaving Memphis), as long as there's not a local group in ownership of the team," J. R. 'Pitt' Hyde said. "I don't share that view. I think the team is here for the long pull, whatever the ownership mix is."
That sounds good on paper but that doesn't exactly convince someone to buy a ticket to the game either.

Micheal Heisley has repeatedly said that the best thing for the Grizzlies would be local ownership. The locals took that to heart and ponied up an offer of a reported $300 million. Whatever the offer it was higher than previous offers from the local group according to Hyde.

Which brings in another issue. Hasn't Heisley said that he hasn't received any offers from the local owners? I haven't found the exact quote anywhere but I seem to remember Heisley saying he didn't get an offer last year when the Davis-Laettner bid fell apart. Curious now that Pitt Hyde would say he upped his previous offer when Heisley said he has never received an offer from the locals.

Who's telling the truth? The man from Chicago who promised Vancouver he wasn't going to move the team a year before he moved the team to Memphis or the local philanthropist who has saved the Civil Rights Museum, started the Memphis BioWorks Foudation and was CEO of Autozone among other activities?

And where does that leave us, the common fans, who look to the team for entertainment and civic pride? Who have been asked to renew our tickets at the same time that the local owners are selling their interest in the club and the coach that was brought in with such fanfare last season is supposedly about to be fired?

I can't believe I am saying this but it makes you wish for the good old days of last year when there was hope that things were just an illusion. Right now it appears the team is run by a greedy liar who has changes his mind on what he wants to do with the team with the seasons and doesn't care about the people who support his business.

Oh and the Grizzlies play the Lakers tonight. You know the team Heisley gave Pau to in January for a 19 yr old rookie, a $9 million expiring contract and the 76ers unpaid assistant coach.

It just keeps getting worse...

Chris Wallace has squelched rumors of Iavaroni being replaced as head coach. According to the Commercial Appeal the team is pleased with what Iavaroni has accomplished this season and have no intention of replacing him at this time.

Of course, the 'GM Vote of Confidence' is only one step below the dreaded 'Owner's Vote Of Confidence' as a contrary indicator.

Personally I believe the rumor of Memphis' interest in Brown is overstated. Heisley isn't going to want to buy out Iavaroni immediately after the local owners put their stock in the team back to Heisley to pay down the line of credit with the league.

BallHype: hype it up!


bgassassin said...

You know guys. I was thinking a little more about this. I wonder if Larry Brown would take this job to "kill" the stereotypes about him as a coach and prove that he could win regardless. As you stated about what LB is known for Chip, pretty much everything Memphis has makes it seem like the most unlikely matchup. I really could see him take the job in an attempt to prove that he isn't the things you mentioned.

Anonymous said...

The local owners loss their right of first refusal, but the city and county still have their right of first refusal to find a buyer. So, it's not really a big deal.