MEMPHIS, TN - APRIL 29: A Memphis Grizzlies fan celebrates during the Grizzlies 99-91 win over the San Antonio Spurs in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on April 29, 2011 in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Good news, everyone! Your Memphis Grizzlies are, at the very least, going to be staying in Memphis for the next 15 years, according to the new deal struck between prospective owner Robert Pera and his local investors.
Pera has agreed to three provisions: 1) a $100 million penalty if the team is moved, 2) a right of first refusal under which the local owners will be able to match any offer Pera receives to sell the team and 3) the right for the locals to buy the team from Pera at the current price if he wants to move it. All provisions are in effect for the next 15 years.
The local group includes J.R. "Pitt" Hyde, Staley Cates, Ed Dobbs, Duncan Williams and Billy Orgel. Cates confirmed the details of the agreement Monday, as did a source close to Pera.
So, yeah, they aren't going anywhere for at least another 15 years. I look forward to having this conversation again, 15 years from now.
The important thing to remember, too, is that this agreement is separate from the lease agreement the team has with the FedEx Forum, which doesn't expire until 2029. So, that's a totally different conversation. This is more solidified.
The local group will own between 30 and 35 percent of the team. Pera is believed to have agreed to pay Heisley $350 million for the Grizzlies. His bid has been under review by the NBA, as is the league's standard protocol for new owners, and is subject to approval by the NBA's board of governors, which is composed of the majority owners of all 30 franchises. NBA regulations request that prospective owners not speak publicly during the vetting process.
Again, it's nice to see that Pera is embracing the Memphis roots and not coming in as a multimillionaire outsider looking to grab, stash and run. He's actually doing... the right thing, believe it or not.