While there has been an agreement by 34-year-old billionaire Robert Pera to purchase the Memphis Grizzlies from its current owner, Michael Heisley, the team still will operate as if Heisley is and will continue to be its rightful owner. That's an important bit of news, since it's going to take some months before the team can officially be signed over to Pera. And in that time there are going to be plenty of highly important decisions to be made, starting with the 25th pick in this year's NBA Draft.
Pera won't have veto power when it comes to Griz dealings but he'll be kept in the loop about transactions as a courtesy generally provided in the NBA by the outgoing owner.
It's generally accepted that the seller would make only short-term decisions requiring immediate attention (i.e., draft, qualifying offers for free agents), leaving long-term pronouncements (i.e. contract extensions, major trades) to the new owner.
This also includes what the team does with Rudy Gay, O.J. Mayo, who will most likely become a restricted free agent this summer, as well as the decisions to make qualifying offers to Darrell Arthur, Marreese Speights and Lester Hudson, and how to proceed with Hamed Haddadi. Decisions, decisions, decisions. All which are to be made by Heisley, with some input, of course, from Pera.
You can't completely lock Pera out of the decision making process, but you also can't manage based on a pending sale. What if for some reason the deal doesn't go through? Now, you're back at square one in the sale and decisions having been made from someone who is no longer associated with the team.
It's a fine line to walk, because you also can't make any decision, like, say, to sign O.J. Mayo to a 5-year, $60 million deal, that would put it on Pera's books. That just wouldn't be... right. Right?
So expect to see Pera involved, expect to see him in the draft room come draft night, and expect decisions to be made that will appease both parties involved. Heisley isn't going to do anything that would jeopardize the sale of the team, but he's also not going to do anything that puts a burden on the franchise.
At least I hope not.