The National Basketball Association’s Board of Governors have approved the sale of the Memphis Grizzlies to 34-year-old billionaire Robert Pera.
“We are delighted that the NBA’s Board of Governors has approved Robert Pera’s purchase of the Grizzlies,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a statement. “Robert will no doubt bring great energy and passion to the franchise. He has assembled an ownership group with very strong local ties, and we anticipate that their commitment to the Memphis area will greatly benefit both the team and the community.”
Pera, proprietor of the wireless Internet technology corporation Ubiquiti Networks, purchased the team on June 11. The deal, which figures to be worth around $350 million, was pending league approval.
Pera is only the second owner in Memphis Grizzlies history after owner Michael Heisley relocated the franchise from Vancouver in 2001. Heisley purchased the franchise for $160 million.
Heisley, 75, was renown as one of the stingiest owners in professional basketball, frustrating the Memphis faithful. It wasn’t until recently when he made a concerted effort to field a playoff contending team. As of now, barring any cost-cutting trades, Memphis figures to be dangerously close (and likely over) to the luxury tax for the next two seasons.
With the deal, Pera will become the largest shareholder and controlling owner despite owning less than 50 percent of the franchise. To complete the deal, high profile names like Justin Timberlake, Peyton Manning and Penny Hardaway have agreed to invest in the franchise.
The Grizzlies, who are in the midst of a lease with FedEx Forum until 2021, arent’t likely candidates to relocate.
Plus, Pera has also has agreed to a three-pronged proposal of safeguards, according to The Commercial Appeal, that will ensure Memphis will retain their franchise for the next 15 years.
The next step for the organization will be how to create a contender with limited cap flexibility. Do they trade Marc Gasol, Rudy Gay or Zach Randolph, all of whom earn more than $13 million each season, to alleviate the cap burden?
That will be an issue fans would like Pera to solve.