Memphis turns attention to keeping Grizzlies with lease expiring in '29

It is "not too early" for the city of Memphis to "start thinking about a second lease" for the Grizzlies at a renovated arena or something else, though the team's deal does not expire until the end of the '28-29 season, according to Samuel Hardiman of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. Recent negotiations among Shelby County government, the city and the Grizzlies to amend the team's current lease at FedExForum have "served as a reminder" that without a new one, the Grizzlies are "no longer tethered to Memphis." But the bid to keep the city's lone major sports franchise "must overcome the challenging economics" the Grizzlies face in one of the NBA's smallest markets and the "unclear priorities" of owner Robert Pera. Any deal on a new arena or substantial renovations to FedExForum "will likely include the investment of taxpayer dollars," and given the expected price tag, Memphis "could soon seek state help." Memphis city officials said that the state of Tennessee's recent financing package for a new Titans stadium "could prove to be a potential template for keeping the Grizzlies." Much of the speculation around keeping the Grizzlies in Memphis also "comes from the skepticism of Pera," who "does not come to Memphis often and rarely says much to the media." A source said that there is "little danger in Pera moving the team," as he "would not want to be seen as a greedy owner moving a successful franchise from a city that has adopted the team." But given the "infrequent visits and sporadic public comments" from Pera, local business people and fans "often wonder about his commitment to Memphis" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 5/11).

Any deal on substantial renovations to FedExForum will likely include investment of taxpayer dollars, and given expected price tag, Memphis could soon seek state helpGetty Images

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