Group including Laettner, Davis agrees to buy Grizz

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- An investment group that includes
Christian Laettner and his former Duke teammate Brian Davis has
reached an agreement to buy 70 percent of the Memphis Grizzlies.

Laettner is also interested in returning to the NBA to play for
the Grizzlies, according to Davis.

"We'll try to make that happen as soon as possible," Davis
said at a news conference Monday.

Laettner, who was with the league for 13 years, left the NBA
after the 2004-05 season with Miami.

Memphis coach Mike Fratello said he had heard nothing about
Laettner wanting to return to the NBA.

"I guess if you own the team, you can put yourself on the
roster," Fratello said.

Davis said an agreement was reached with billionaire Michael
Heisley to buy his majority 70 percent interest in the team for
about $360 million. Davis and Laettner are putting a total of $40
million of their own money into the project. The remainder will
come from investors he did not identify, but Davis said he has
lined up the money for the purchase.

Members of the group will be made public, he said, after the
team's minority owners decide if they will make an offer for the

Davis, who played in four Final Fours while at Duke from
1989-92, said he wants president Jerry West and Fratello to stay
with the Grizzlies.

He added that he would like to sign West to a lifetime contract,
though West said it was too early for him to decide on his
long-range plans, "so we'll see what happens."

The sale will take several months to complete because the
minority owners have the right of first refusal for 60 days from
the date they are notified. The sale also must be approved by the
NBA, and Heisley said he expects to remain with the team for
several months.

AutoZone founder J.R. "Pitt" Hyde, a minority owner and
business leader who helped bring the Grizzlies to town, said a
decision on trying to match Davis' offer will take several weeks.

"In evaluating this whole proposition, our No. 1 concern will
be what's in the best interest for the city of Memphis," Hyde

Heisley bought the franchise in Vancouver in 2000 for $160
million and moved it to Memphis the following year.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal, citing team insiders, reported Sunday that the Grizzlies lost more than $40 million following the 2005-06 season, spurring Heisley to try to sell his majority share. The newspaper first reported the sale Sunday.

But Heisley said his motivations for selling were not
purely financial.

"I put a lot of time and a lot of money in this franchise. But
I look at it and say, 'Am I the person who can best take this team
to the next level?' And I don't think I am the person who can do as
good a job as Brian can do," Heisley said. "I'm almost 70 years
of age, and I'm not going to suddenly be out there high-fiving with
players. He will."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.