Sports » Sports Feature

Heisley Says He's Got No Offers to Buy Griz

West's future with the team is unclear


AP - Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley said Wednesday he has no active offers before him to buy the NBA team, though it is still up for sale.

North Carolina real estate developer Brian Davis, who failed late last year to raise the $252 million Heisley wants for his majority share of the team, is still looking for investors but does not have them yet, Heisley said before a "state of the franchise" meeting with season ticket holders.

"As far as I'm concerned, Davis doesn't have an offer on the table because he doesn't have the financing," Heisley said.

An agreement Heisley announced in October giving a group headed by Davis and former NBA player Christian Laettner first shot at buying the team expired in January.

After three straight playoff trips - the only ones in franchise history - the Grizzlies have the worst record in the NBA.

"This has been a nightmare year, a nightmare," team president Jerry West said. "You name it, it has gone wrong for us here. But having said that, there is hope."

West said the Grizzlies are pleased with advances made by the team's younger players and have a good shot at a top pick in what is considered a strong draft.

Neither Heisley nor West would discuss West's future with the team.

"At a minimum, Jerry is going to be here through the draft," Heisley said. "Any other discussions between me and Jerry are going to be between me and Jerry."

West was retired after four decades as a player and executive with the Los Angeles Lakers when the joined the Grizzlies in 2002 following their first season in Memphis.

West recently put his Memphis residence up for sale, asking close to $4 million. The team said he was just looking for a smaller house.

Team leader Pau Gasol, who missed the first 22 games of the season with a foot injury, has let it be known he would like to be traded.

But Heisley said Gasol will remain with the Grizzlies unless a trade would be good for the team.

"I told Pau, 'We're not just going to trade you to trade you. If we can get something that will improve the team, we will look at trading you.' And quite honestly, if we could improve the team, we probably would trade him whether he asked to be traded or not traded," Heisley said.

Heisley said Davis or anyone else willing to match his selling price can make an offer for the team. Davis, a co-captain on Duke's championship team in the 1990s, refuses to talk publicly about his financing efforts.

Heisley and Davis have put the total value of the team at $360 million. A group of minority owners in Memphis owns 30 per cent of the franchise.

The minority owners are also trying to put together an offer, but Heisley said he has not heard from them.

"From my point of view, I'm going along as if I will own the team next year," he said.

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