A California billionaire has agreed to purchase the Memphis Grizzlies, ESPN reported Monday, seemingly taking the team off the list of potential franchises to move to Seattle.
ESPN's Marc Stein reported current majority owner Michael Heisley agreed to a deal with 34-year-old Ubiquiti Networks CEO Robert Pera worth somewhere in the range of $350 million. Sources told Stein that Pera plans to keep the team in Memphis.
While the sale of the Grizzlies does mean one less NBA team is available to investor Chris Hansen, who is looking to bring the SuperSonics back to Seattle, it does not necessarily affect those plans. Hansen told KIRO 7 in March that a five-year timeline for bringing the Sonics back was probably the most realistic.
"It’s not in my control when franchise opportunities arise, and if we have a solid deal in place, I think we’ll be at the very top of the list of places that the NBA would like to be," Hansen said then, speaking of his plan to build an NBA/NHL arena in Seattle's SoDo neighborhood. " I look at this no different than I would look at investment opportunities in my profession, and I would say looking at this on a 5-year basis is probably a great way to look at it."
Hansen and his investment group have a rally for the new arena planned for 4 p.m. Saturday at Occidental Park.