Now third hand (or fourth), one newspaper using the quotes from another newspaper, repeated in this blog. But, here it is, the Griz can still be had, still.
Citing two sources, CSNBayArea.com said the billionaire may have a "handshake agreement" with Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley to purchase the team.
There has long been speculation that Ellison wants to own an NBA team with the idea of moving it to San Jose. However, there would be many obstacles to relocating another team in the South Bay, including the Grizzlies' lease on their arena that runs through 2021 -- though it reportedly could be broken in 2017 if certain attendance figures aren't met.
. . .
Heisley cautioned about reading too much into the Ellison report, telling The Commercial Appeal of Memphis that "I can't downplay it enough. If it happens I'll be surprised," said Heisley, who nonetheless didn't deny negotiating with Ellison.
"It's in the initial stages," said Heisley, who is alternately one of the finalists bidding to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers. "We've handled this just like we've handled several other dozen requests. My situation in Memphis has not changed a lick. My preference will always be for somebody in Memphis to buy the team. There's not any interest in Memphis. But we've always made it known that if somebody wants to buy the team, we'll listen. If they're real buyers we'll probably be sellers. So far there hasn't been anyone willing to buy the team under my terms and for my price."
. . .
"I was trying to buy the team first, and then figure out what I was going to do with it," Ellison told reporters in January.
Heisley's asking price for the Grizzlies is $350 million. Ellison reportedly bid more than $400 million for the Warriors, which fell short of the winning bid of a record $450 million by co-owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber.
The San Jose Mercury News, Report: Oracle's Larry Ellison trying to buy Memphis Grizzlies
The Griz have have been available for sale for a few years. Heisley is asking for a lot of money for a team that has been a money loser, will end up "taking" in the NBA revenue sharing because they still will not generate positive numbers, and are in a lease that is very expensive to get out of (after 2013). I think Heisley would be "surprised" not because it isn't possible, just that it is so expensive.
Meanwhile in Sacramento, they consider more important things. I can't say that Hansen's Seattle arena proposal hasn't influenced a closer look at the Sacramento proposal, because I just don't know. I think it is inevitable that somebody on their city council write out in detail their concerns. It may be a minority opinion and a fig leaf to provide some political cover.
Hang in there Kings fans, nothing is done until it is.
â€¢ Issue 1: Let's address our current city priorities
A parking authority model is very intriguing and should be pursued regardless of whether the arena deal goes forward to help produce millions of dollars in new monies annually for our city. If nothing else, this arena process helped us get here. However, the real policy choice is where the new parking revenue should be allocated.
For me, it's unconscionable to allocate all new parking monies toward a new arena with so many other pressing city needs. In my council District 6, all three swimming pools are closed and community centers and libraries are staffed at skeleton levels. Citywide, all youth sports programs were eliminated last year. Park maintenance and code enforcement are not staffed at levels to provide adequate service, and we've been forced to eliminate more than 200 police and firefighter positions in recent years. And, in less than three months, there may be more layoffs as we face another $25 million deficit.
I believe some of these new funds should be used for the city's most pressing needs. While we must invest in Sacramento's future, we can't ignore today's needs.
â€¢ Issue 2: Let's protect ourselves regarding the Kings loan
Under this plan, the Kings' $67 million loan will not be paid off; rather, it will be refinanced. This loan will likely linger on the city's books for another 30 years, impacting the city's debt ratio. Sacramento's existing loan with the Kings has the arena and adjacent land as collateral, but this refinanced loan would have neither. No bank would accept such a deal, and neither should the city.
We should insist that the current loan be paid off as we consider a new arena deal. Absent this, we must mandate adequate security against real property or a liquid asset of equal value, or require an NBA guarantee to protect the city against a default.
â€¢ Issue 3: Let's ensure rock-solid guarantees to protect our general fund
The plan backfills $9 million to the city general fund for core municipal services. The biggest piece of this puzzle, $3.8 million in ticket surcharges, is a positive element but is very speculative. City after city has been burned with lower than promised surcharge revenue, as a labor strike or a bad product on the court can undermine the promise.
To safeguard the city general fund, we should insist that the NBA, Kings and/or AEG guarantee the $3.8 million annual backfill.
â€¢ Issue 4: Let's negotiate a deal to make money
With this proposal, the city is projected to simply break even financially, while AEG and the Kings are looking to make a profit in this endeavor. If this deal is going to make money for them, then it should make money for the city and provide revenue for our priorities. This is especially true since we're putting up 65 percent of the investment.
While AEG is investing $59 million and netting $5.7 million annually, a 10 percent return on investment, the city is investing $256 million and netting only $1 million annually. In addition, this deal gives the Kings all game-night parking revenue at our city garages, netting them $2.6 million annually and also undermining the overall market value of our parking portfolio.
Why can't we fine-tune the deal to require a 5 percent return on our investment to generate $12.5 million annually? These funds could help reopen our pools, community centers and libraries, or help us meet other city priorities.
Like many Sacramentans, I'm not an automatic "no" vote on public funding for an arena, but it has to be a better deal for our city. Sacramento deserves better â€“ the city deserves a bigger bang for our buck.
Kevin McCarty represents District 6 on the Sacramento City Council. From the SacBee: Viewpoints: If Sacramento provides the arena buck, it should get more bang