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Sunday , Mar , 18 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Ellis to Buy Grizzlies; Move team to San Jose?

Californian Larry Ellison, ranked as the third-richest person in the U.S., has inquired about buying the Memphis Grizzlies with apparent hopes of moving the team to San Jose. But team owner Michael Heisley on Saturday downplayed the possibility of a sale — and of a relocation, citing a lease that ties the franchise to Memphis and FedExForum until 2021. “I can’t downplay it enough. If it happens I’ll be surprised,” said Heisley, a Chicago-based billionaire who added that talks had not become serious.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Be afraid Memphis.

Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley will say one thing and do the opposite -especially if he can make a profit.

Consider his track record.

Years ago, the Chicago businessman promised to keep the Grizzlies in Vancouver, even singing the Canadian national anthem at the season opener as a show of good faith.

Privately, behind closed doors, Heisley was sabotaging things so he could move the franchise as soon as possible.

He stopped selling season tickets so attendance would fall. He cut ties with the community. He alienated sponsors. And he stopped communicating with fans.

The reason? Heisley could justify the move to Memphis if he could kill the Vancouver market.

At the time, Vancouver was an average NBA market. The Canadian dollar was low; the area’s economy was in recession. On-court, the team was an unmitigated disaster because of GM Stu Jackson. Not surprisingly, the team only drew about 15 thousand fans per game.

Ironically, the situation improved once Heisley left. Today, the Canadian dollar sits at par; Vancouver’s economy is strong because of oil, gas, and an influx of Chinese money. Fans would support a decent product -the city’s NHL team has a string of 380 straight sell-outs.

Heisley was too narrow-minded to see the light, though. He took the tax breaks and ran to small, poor Memphis, where he has lost millions of dollars.

And Heisley will show no loyalty to Memphis if Larry Ellison’s offer is high enough. He won’t care if selling the team to the Oracle CEO results in the Grizzles leaving for San Jose.

Once a jerk, always a jerk. Just ask Vancouver.

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Wednesday , Oct , 19 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Bryant Gumbel: David Stern is a ‘plantation overseer’

Stern’s version of what’s been going on behind closed doors has, of course, been disputed. But his efforts were typical of a commissioner, who has always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer treating NBA men as if they were his boys. It’s part of Stern’s M.O. Like his past self-serving edicts on dress code or the questioning of officials, his moves are intended to do little more than show how he’s the one keeping the hired hands in their place.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Perspective matters.

Bryant Gumbel is clearly losing perspective on the NBA lockout when he compares Commissioner David Stern to a plantation overseer.

To be fair, Stern is many things: cocky, arrogant, smarmy, confrontational, self-absorbed, militant, egotistical, and difficult.

And he’s been called even worse.

Some fans, especially in Seattle and Vancouver, would say he’s dishonest after their franchises were taken in a conspiracy that would impress filmmaker Oliver Stone.

But a ‘plantation overseer‘? Implying that multimillionaire NBA players are slaves to the owners and Stern?

Clearly, this is unfair even for a dubious character like Stern.

O.Sandor.

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Monday , Sep , 05 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Chris Bosh: Heat has Unfinished Business

We’re going to make some plans. We’re going to plan to do something,” Bosh said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles. “I think just getting around each other, I think it’s important as far as team-building is concerned and just getting something going. We’re pretty much still in the process of doing that.”

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Like the EPMD album, the Miami Heat has unfinished business.

At least that's the way superstar Chris Bosh sees it, who told reporters the Heat would start preparing for the 2012 season even though there’s little sign the NBA's labour troubles will be resolved.

The Heat, right or wrong, has been called many things by those outside Florida: arrogant, cocky, self-absorbed, villainous, and evil.

But there's no doubting their dedication as Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade seem focused on returning to the Finals and winning the championship that eluded them in 2011.

Consider that the lockout provides ample free time for the Three Kings to enjoy their wealth. They could lie on a beach, party non-stop in Vegas, and appear at training camp, whenever the lockout is solved, looking like former Vancouver Grizzlies post Bryant Reeves.

Instead, all three are working. Wade and James are focused on improving their already strong chemistry, while Bosh is punching the clock.

When training camp finally opens, the Heat - because of Bosh, James, and Wade’s determination - has to be the early favourites.

--Oly Sandor.


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Saturday , Oct , 09 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Franchise Falling: Steve Francis arrested at LAX

Former NBA star Steve Francis was arrested Thursday night at Los Angeles International Airport, officials said. Francis was taken into custody about 10 p.m. by airport police for resisting arrest, officials said. He appeared intoxicated and became boisterous at one of the ticket counters, officials said. He was released after posting $10,000 bail early Friday.
 

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Oh, how The Franchise has fallen.

Steve Francis, a three-time NBA All-Star, is now out the league and catching flack from the law for sipping a little something, something at the Los Angeles International Airport.

Perhaps this is Karma. After all, Francis was a Prima Donna in Vancouver, Houston, and Orlando. His time in New York and Memphis was laughable.

Hopefully, Francis gets it together. He’s only 33. And has the resources to do anything he wants.

--Oly Sandor.

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