Prospective Grizzlies owners Brian Davis and Christian Laettner plan to cut player payroll while maintaining a playoff-caliber team, using their basketball smarts to find bargain-priced talent.
That ownership strategy is outlined in confidential information obtained Wednesday by The Commercial Appeal. The information indicates the team has 2006 losses of $29.7 million, but under new management could be profitable by the end of the 2008-09 NBA season.
It also explains how the former Duke University basketball teammates plan to fund their purchase of Michael Heisley’s 70-percent majority share by selling approximately $170 million worth of “ownership units” of their Grizzly Acquisition Holdings LLC.
According to the prospective owners’ plan, ownership units start at $2 million. A $10 million investment buys representation on the advisory committee that will provide input on operations and strategic direction. But “ultimate discretion for most matters, including the budget,” will rest with Davis and Laettner, whom the information portrays as keys to the franchise’s success on the court and in the community.
“Davis and Laettner, based on their collective knowledge of professional basketball and the NBA, believe talented players can be recruited at lower payroll costs in order to execute the Business Plan,” according to the information.
No wonder Jerry West is retiring. For all his achievements in the Association, he’s clearly unqualified when it comes to identifying and procuring econo talent. And who amongst us hasn’t observered Christian Death over the years and said to ourselves, “there goes the future Billy Beane of basketball”?