Sources: Ellison in advanced talks to buy Grizzlies

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Sources: Ellison in advanced talks to buy Grizzlies

It looks like Larry Ellison is closer to getting into the NBA game.Ellison, the Oracle Corp. CEO and one of the richest men in the world, is in advanced talks with Memphis owner Michael Heisley to buy the Grizzlies, according to multiple sources.Two of those sources said it is possible that Ellison and Heisley have a handshake agreement on the transaction.Earlier Saturday, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported that Heisley confirmed Ellison has inquired about buying the team. But he downplayed the chances of it actually happening.I cant downplay it enough, Heisley told the Commercial Appeal. If it happens, Ill be surprised. Its in the initial stages. Weve handled this just like weve 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. Theres not any interest in Memphis. But weve always made it known that if somebody wants to buy the team, well listen. If theyre real buyers well probably be sellers. So far, there hasnt been anyone willing to buy the team under my terms and for my price.
This is not the first time Ellison has attempted to buy an NBA team. He was a finalist to buy the Warriors in the summer of 2010, but lost out to Joe Lacobs ownership group.
Ellison also confirmed in early January that he tried to buy the New Orleans Hornets but was outbid by the NBA, which currently owns that team.It is unknown whether Ellison would want to move the Grizzlies if he buys them. It has long been speculated that Ellison would try to move an NBA team to San Jose if he ever bought one.When Ellison confirmed he tried to buy the Hornets, he said he had no plan to move the franchise to San Jose.Said Ellison: I was trying to buy the team first, and then figure out what I was going to do with it.Heisley has acknowledged hes willing to sell the team, but he also has maintained that he is committed to selling the franchise to an owner who wants to keep the team in Memphis.Heisley is part of a group that is bidding to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers, which has raised questions about his desire to hold onto the Grizzlies.The Dodgers are expected to eventually be sold for upwards of 1 billion. Heisley, who has an estimated net worth of 1.5 billion, bought the Grizzlies when they were in Vancouver in 2000.In 2006, he agreed to sell his 70 percent controlling interest in the team to a group that included Christian Laettner and Brian Davis. But the deal fell through, and Heisley remained the owner.If Ellison buys the Grizzlies and seeks to relocate the franchise, it would likely be challenging. The team has a restrictive lease with the city and there would no doubt be legal challenges. The FedEx Forum lease runs through 2021, but according to one source, there are attendance clauses that kick in during 2017 that would allow the team to move if certain thresholds are not met.Trying to move the team to San Jose, specifically, would likely be even more difficult. Warriors owner Joe Lacob has said repeatedly that he considers San Jose part of Golden States domain and that he doubts the league would ever approve such a move.It is unknown whether David Stern or the NBA has ever given Lacob that assurance.According to three sources, Lacob and the Warriors ownership team know that Ellison is trying to buy Memphis. When Ellison was trying to buy the Warriors from previous owner Chris Cohan, he was partnered with four of franchises minority owners at the time.Sources confirmed that the former Warriors minority group comprised of Jim Davidson, Michael Marks and John Thompson are not a part of Ellisons bid in Memphis.Fred Harman, a fourth minority under Cohan, stayed on as part of Lacobs ownership group.What would likely complicate a move to San Jose further is that the Kings recently received authorization to build a new downtown arena, making it a foregone conclusion that the Kings will remain in Sacramento.It is not known whether the NBA would be willing to have three teams in Northern California.

Source: Warriors contact Turner Sports about Shaq's abuse of McGee

Source: Warriors contact Turner Sports about Shaq's abuse of McGee

OAKLAND -- Mess with one Warrior, you mess with the entire organization.

That’s the message the Warriors sent out Friday in the wake of a Twitter beef between center JaVale McGee and TNT analyst Shaquille ONeal that began late Thursday night and carried into the wee hours Friday morning.

Coach Steve Kerr fired back at O’Neal, as did Warriors forward Kevin Durant. The Warriors, as a franchise, contacted O’Neal’s bosses.

Kerr spent a portion of his post-practice news conference Friday afternoon defending McGee from O’Neal’s relentless ridicule on the video segment “Shaqtin’ A Fool.” Durant said O’Neal’s ongoing critiques are “childish,” adding that O’Neal was a great player with his own imperfections.

Prior to the comments by Durant and Kerr, though, it was confirmed by CSNBayArea.com that the Warriors contacted Turner Sports in hopes of getting TNT’s parent company to persuade O’Neal to curb the constant derision directed toward McGee because of its impact on his image and reputation.

The outreach was a direct response to a roughly two-minute segment Thursday night that was strictly limited to castigating McGee.

Upon getting wind of Durant’s comments, O’Neal turned to Twitter to tell Durant that McGee is a “bum” and to “mind yo business.”

Durant defends JaVale, blasts Shaq: 'He didn’t have any skill'

Durant defends JaVale, blasts Shaq: 'He didn’t have any skill'

OAKLAND -- The long-simmering acrimony between retired NBA star Shaquille O’Neal and Warriors center JaVale McGee reached epic proportions late Thursday night and early Friday morning when the two engaged in a Twitter beef.

By Friday afternoon, Kevin Durant was stepping into the fray. He didn’t bother with Twitter, instead speaking his mind and firing verbal grenades at Shaq.

“JaVale works extremely hard,” Durant said after practice. “He has come in here and done so much for us as a player. He only wants to be respected, just like anybody else. And I understand that Shaq works for a company that wants him to do that type of stuff, and make fun of players. It’s cool and funny.

“But when you just keep doing it time and time and time again, for no reason, and then a guy actually disagrees with you? And you threaten him? I didn’t know cops could threaten civilians like that.”

O’Neal currently is a reserve police officer in Doral, Fla. He also has served in that capacity in several other cities.

The latest O’Neal-McGee spat began when O’Neal, now an analyst at TNT who frequently targets McGee for ridicule, presented a video Thursday night that mocked McGee. It was very personal.

McGee took offense and responded on Twitter, which led to the two men exchanging insults, with McGee accusing O’Neal of “cooning,” and O’Neal calling McGee “dumb” and threatening to “smack the s--t out” of McGee.

Though McGee was not available Friday, he was sharply defended by Warriors coach Steve Kerr and Durant.

“It’s definitely childish,” Durant said. “But that’s what they want from these stars and these retired players, is to feud with the guys that are playing now and make arguments and disagreements. If I was JaVale, I’d feel the same way. It’s childish.

“Shaq wants to make a joke about it, but if it was him in that position, he would feel the same way.

“Everybody can’t be Shaq. He’s trying to make his money and enjoy the game of basketball, and his perception of him is that he’s a ‘dumb’ player because he makes mistakes on the court. Shaq was a sh---y free-throw shooter. He missed dunks. He air-balled free throws. He couldn’t shoot outside the paint. He was bigger than everybody. He didn’t have any skill. But he was bigger and stronger than everybody.”

Durant then turned his head and seemed to speak directly to O’Neal.

“He was still a great player, but you had your flaws too as a player,” he said. “And you played on five of six teams, too. So it’s not like you’re this perfect center. You had your flaws too. Like I said, I didn’t know cops could go on Twitter and threaten civilians like that. I’m glad JaVale challenged him.”

Kerr, who has known O’Neal for more than 20 years, also came to McGee’s defense.

“I don’t blame him for being frustrated,” he said Kerr. “Shaq’s been picking on him for years and years and years. And JaVale, rightfully so, probably gets frustrated. It never ends. And it’s one thing to just have a little fun, but you can go a little bit over the top.

“It’s one of those things. If you think about JaVale’s career, when you’re in this position where someone is on national TV making fun of you night after night, it’s not the greatest thing for your reputation.

“I can tell you, I had a preconceived notion of JaVale before he got here that turned out to be totally false. And a lot of that was because of what goes on with Shaq’s ‘Shaqtin’ A Fool’ thing.”

***

Shaq responded to Durant Friday on Twitter, writing "@KDTrey5 mind yo business this ain't for you," and "@KDTrey5 I understand u sticking up for your teammate that's cool but your boy @JaValeMcGee34 is still a bum, he started it I'm a finish it."