Owner says Grizzlies now built for playoff run

Grizzlies owner Robert Pera says the team’s recent moves,

including the trade of leading scorer Rudy Gay, have Memphis set up

for a good run in the playoffs.

He also wants to make it clear he’s not looking to make a profit

off his NBA team.

On Tuesday, Pera held his first news conference in Memphis since

his introduction as the team’s chairman before the home opener in

November, addressing topics ranging from finances to the team’s

roster.

”With the latest trades, the personnel moves, how the team is

constructed, I think it has the potential to be the best Grizzlies

team yet,” Pera said. ”I really like how the pieces now fit kind

of the traditional inside-out game. I think if they gel, then

hopefully this could be the best playoff run yet.”

The Gay trade has been criticized by many who saw it as a

cost-cutting measure and an example of new ownership trying to cut

financial corners.

Pera acknowledged that money was a factor but said he looks at

owning the Grizzlies differently than his tech company, Ubiquiti

Networks. He said the goal is putting the best product on the court

without the same consideration for financial gain and cited the Los

Angeles Lakers as an example that spending a lot of money doesn’t

always mean success.

”I run my real business, Ubiquiti Networks, definitely for

profitability,” Pera said. ”For the Memphis Grizzlies, I

definitely don’t want to profit in any way. The primary goal is to

win and to make the City of Memphis proud. . You can’t be cheap,

and I don’t think we are cheap.”

Pera said the moves were more about putting a good team on the

floor than making money.

The Grizzlies sent three role players – Marreese Speights, Wayne

Ellington and Josh Selby – to Cleveland for seldom-used forward Jon

Leuer in the first trade. Then Memphis traded Gay to Toronto in a

three-team deal that brought Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye to the

Grizzlies from Detroit and Ed Davis from Toronto.

The Grizzlies are fourth in the Western Conference and have won

two straight going into Tuesday night’s game with Golden State.

Both Pera and CEO Jason Levien said they never had any serious

discussions about trading All-Star forward Zach Randolph. ”I can

say that categorically,” Levien said.

Levien and Pera also said the future of coach Lionel Hollins,

whose contract runs out at the end of the season, is being

discussed. They declined to go into details.

”I don’t think it behooves us to speak publicly about any kind

of contract decision,” Levien said. ”He’s got a proven track

record that’s very impressive as a coach, and we see him as a big

asset for the team.”

Pera sees the result of all of the moves making the Grizzlies

are similar to the team that upset top-seeded San Antonio in the

opening round of the 2011 playoffs and then took Oklahoma City to

seven games in the conference semifinals before losing. Gay was

injured that season, leading to Randolph’s emergence as the go-to

guy.

Pera said not only are the starting players from that team still

in place but believes the supporting players are even stronger.

”Going back to basketball as a team sport and how the pieces

fit together, and how the team plays and the chemistry,” Pera

said. ”The offense we run, it’s just really traditional. It’s an

inside-out, grinding-type of offense.

”Rudy’s talent, his potential, really couldn’t be maximized in

our system. I think it was good for him, and I think it was good

for the team. The pieces we got back are much stronger.”