Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley confirmed an ESPN report that he plans to sell the team to Robert Pera, a 34-year old Silicon Valley billionaire. In an interview with FOX Sports' Chris Tomasson, Heisley said that a contract to sell the team was signed on Monday afternoon.
When asked why he sold the team now, Heisley cited health issues, among other things.
"I have stepped aside from my companies. I’m 75 years of age I had a couple of medical problems this year (heart). I thought the team was in good shape. Fan base was in good shape. I thought if the opportunity presented itself, I would sell the team.’’
Heisley did not definitively confirm ESPN's report that the sale was for $350 million, but did say the price of the team was for over $300 million. ESPN reported that Pera has no plans to move the team from Memphis.
As Heisley himself said, the sale is not finalized yet. The NBA has not approved the sale, and likely won't do so for another 30-60 days.
Heisley came very close to selling the team in 2007, but a deal with a group headed by former Duke players Brian Davis and Christian Laettner fell through at the last minute. Since then, Heisley has reaffirmed his commitment to building a winner, signing Rudy Gay, Mike Conley, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol to lucrative contract extensions.
For more on the Grizzlies, head over to the SB Nation blog Straight Outta Vancouver.