Sports 56 WHBlog Q

May 13, 2009

Heisley Ranking Unfair

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg Gaston @ 2:38 pm

In my humble opinion, Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley is an average Sports Owner. He’s not great nor is he horrible. He’s average. In the opinion of SI.Com he is one of the worst.
Sports Illustrated recently came out with a story ranking all of the owners in each of the “Big Four” Sports. In their NBA ratings, they placed Heisley at 3rd from the bottom. Only the Clippers Donald Sterling and the Knicks James Dolan ranked below the Chicago Billionaire.
Now I understand subjectivity. This is obviously a story that reflects opinions. The problem is that within the opinions they introduce facts. Or what they believe are facts.
In the Case of Heisley they have either done shoddy research or blatantly refused to look at the Organization’s three year playoff run. After the team’s relocation to Memphis and their eventual move to FedExForum, Heisley dumped millions of dollars into team payroll. In fact, the team went over the Luxury-Tax threshold. The SI.Com story indicated Heisley never came anywhere near the Luxury Tax number.
Heisley is heavily criticized for making the Pau Gasol trade. A trade that certainly saved him plenty of money. The trade however is ever changing. Pau’s little brother Marc, who came over in the deal, has turned out to be more than a serviceable player. And with the money they took off the books, perhaps a free agent will help take this team back to the post season. Now the argument from Heisley’s detractors would be “O.K. let’s see if he does you the money to get a big time player”. Certainly a legitimate question, but to say this guy is ONLY about saving money is incorrect. There is no owner who wants to lose money. Heisley would be the first to overspend if you could guarantee him a winner. Problem is you can’t. That is why he has bought into this three year plan hoping to rebuild a one time playoff team into a contender through the Draft, Trades and Free Agency.
Would Heisley like to sell the team? Yes. But that’s to be expected from a businessman who is losing money. The fact is he has promised to never move the team out of Memphis while he is the owner. Of course that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t sell the team to an ownership group that would.
With all that has been said, the positives and the negatives, this is why Heisley is a middle of the road owner. As I said he’s not great nor is he horrible. SI.Com has the right to rank him anywhere they want, but you better come with the right ammo if you want to shoot down this particular millionaire.


1 Comment »

  1. So your defense for Heisley is that he was over the luxury tax four or five years ago,and that one day they might sign a free-agent with Gasols money,making it a good trade.You really silence Heisleys critics Greg.I like how you left out the signings of Frances,Livingston,and Miles last year.Oh that right thats the Griz being creative,

    Comment by mike — May 13, 2009 @ 4:41 pm

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