Warriors

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.

What's caused Warriors' slow start and why it should come as no surprise

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USATSI

What's caused Warriors' slow start and why it should come as no surprise

It’s much too early to get legitimately nervous, much less start tumbling into a panic.

The Warriors are going to be fine.

Eventually.

They most certainly are not yet what they will become in about two weeks, when they settle in for a four-game homestand that begins Nov. 6. That’s 10 games into the season, and it’s conceivable the Warriors might be 6-4.

After a 111-101 loss to the ever-tenacious Grizzlies on Saturday in Memphis, the Warriors are 1-2 and, by their lofty standard, looking about as lost as a stray cat in a hurricane.

“We’re obviously not ready. We knew that,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We’re not ready to put together a full effort. And I’m not doing a great job of putting together combinations, finding the right motivation to get guys going, to get some joy and laughter in here.

“It’s just one of those rough patches. And, hopefully, we can climb our way out of it. I’m sure we will. It may take some time.”

It will take some time, and of that there is plenty.

Do not blame this lull entirely on China, not when there is so much more. The Warriors are coming off their third consecutive prolonged season, this one followed by the training camp disruption caused by spending eight days in Oakland, eight days in China, followed by eight days in Oakland leading up to opening night.

It’s easy to see the timing is off on an offense that relies on precision. The spacing is off on an offense that requires room to operate. The energy is lacking on a defense that lapses into ordinary without its bedrock intensity. Both body and spirit appear less than peak.

“We’ve been playing hard,” Kevin Durant told reporters at FedEx Forum, “but I think we’ve got to take it up a level.

“We’ll be fine. It’s 79 more games left. I’m sure we’ll figure it out.”

Understand, a team that won an NBA-best 67 games last season and posted a league-record 16-1 postseason doesn’t lose it because opponents load up. When the Warriors are on their game, opponents don’t matter.

For now, though, there is an individual listlessness that results in collective slumber. Stephen Curry has gambled himself in foul trouble in both losses and was booted in Memphis. Andre Iguodala missed an entire game and Draymond Green missed the fourth quarter of the first loss, a game in which the Warriors gave up a 13-point lead over the final 12 minutes.

And Durant’s 4.6 blocks per game is impressive. It also happens to be offset by his 6.3 turnovers per game.

“That’s on me,” he said. “I’m turning the ball over at a high rate right now. I’m really pissed at myself about it. I’ve just got to hold on to the ball. Just make the correct pass. I think I’m just rushing. I just need to calm down, settle down, and that would ignite the whole team. But if I turn the ball over, that’s contagious.”

The Rockets turned 17 Warriors giveaways into 21 points. The Pelicans turned 14 into 20. The Grizzlies turned 17 into 24.

Asked what has to change, Klay Thompson went to exactly the right place, saying “probably our defensive intensity from the jump.”

That’s where it starts, at least on the court. Meanwhile, there is more video work, more group texts about details and the need for more time for their bodies and minds to become one.

“We’ll be better,” Durant said. “We’re still finding a groove with each other. We’re still getting back into shape as far as playing our game, the flow, just the reads off not calling plays. We’ve got to get used to that again.”

Thompson is, however, displaying a modicum of impatience.

“We’ll come out Monday and we’ll play a great game,” he said. “I guarantee it.”

He’s probably right. The Warriors will be playing at Dallas, against a Mavericks team that is built to be devoured by the powerful.

That might be a quick fix. But it won’t be the final fix. That is weeks away.

Gameday: Curry out for payback against Conley, new-look Grizzlies

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USATSI

Gameday: Curry out for payback against Conley, new-look Grizzlies

When the Warriors set foot in FedEx Forum on Saturday, they’ll find a very different atmosphere as well as a barely recognizable team of Memphis Grizzlies.

The Grindhouse is not the same. Zach Randolph and Vince Carter have left the building. So, too, has the “Grindfather” himself, Tony Allen.

So in their only trip to Memphis this season, the Warriors will focus mostly on point guard Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol, the remaining core members of the team that reached the playoffs in each of the last seven seasons.

The Warriors (1-1) will be playing for the second night in a row, while the Grizzlies (1-0) have not played since their season opener Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.

BETTING LINE:
Warriors by 8.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Stephen Curry vs. Mike Conley: Curry has a long memory, and he will remember not only that the Warriors last season lost twice to the Grizzlies but also that Conley’s 27 points and clutch play offset Curry’s 40 points and led Memphis to an overtime win in Oakland. It won’t matter to Curry that the Warriors posted double-digit wins over the Grizzlies in the last two meetings last season. He may want to take over.

INJURY LIST:
Warriors: F Omri Casspi (L ankle sprain) has been ruled out.

Grizzlies: F JaMychal Green (L ankle sprain), G Ben McLemore (R foot surgery) and G/F Wayne Selden Jr. (R quad injury) are listed as out.

RECENT SERIES HISTORY:
The Warriors have won five of the last seven in Memphis and 10 of the last 13 meetings overall.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
BREEZE OR WHEEZE: Coach Steve Kerr has expressed some concern about the team’s conditioning level. On the second night of their first back-to-back set -- with the Warriors arriving at the hotel at 2:30 a.m. -- it could provide a glimpse of their progress. Kerr said he would consider resting one or two players. Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, both coming off injuries, would seem logical candidates.

GEORGIA VS. SPAIN: The Republic of Georgia’s Zaza Pachulia and Spain’s Marc Gasol know each other well, having spent years battling internationally and in the NBA. There will be no surprises, but Pachulia will have to avoid foul trouble to remain a part of his team’s defensive rotation against one of the league’s best big men.

HOT KLAY: Klay Thompson is off to a torrid start, shooting 11-of-18 from beyond the arc through the first two games. And now he won’t have to worry about Allen, who relished in opportunities to defend the Warriors All-Star. Memphis replaced Allen with Andrew Harrison, who is not in the Grindfather’s class as a defender.