NBA Franchise Notes: Grizzlies Still Feeling Buzz From Last Season's Playoff Appearance
In Memphis, Clay Bailey notes from "billboards appearing around the city to increased ticket sales," the city is "talking about the Grizzlies." Grizzlies VP/Ticket Sales & Service Dennis O'Connor said, “It started last year, and obviously picked up during our playoff run, and kept going through the summer. Now that we're back, and have a schedule again, it's even bigger." O'Connor said that the team “doesn't make public specifics on ticket sales, but reported season ticket purchases are up about 30 percent compared to last season, and partial packages are also ahead of last year.” He added, "Our renewal rate is at an all-time high" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 12/14).
ON THE MENU: In Detroit, Vincent Goodwill notes the Pistons “have taken note of having breakfast, lunch and dinner at camp in order to save time, build camaraderie and remain healthy.” It is “a change, brought on by having Tom Gores as owner and Lawrence Frank as coach.” Frank said, "We have an owner who is extremely committed. We're asking these guys to put a lot of time in, but we're honoring their bodies.” There are “some other subtle changes, too.” The practice facility is “adorned with signs on every wall, such as Gores' mantra -- ‘Be Impactful.’" In addition, the team “will no longer fly out of Metro Airport, preferring Oakland-Pontiac, which is closer to where players stay.” Pistons trainer Arnie Kander said that it will “save 88 hours of drive time for the season” (DETROIT NEWS, 12/14).
NOT HEADING SOUTH: NBA TV’s Chris Webber indicated that NBA players “aren’t looking to come to Atlanta.” Webber: “To be very honest, Atlanta doesn’t sell out games. You have to have die-hard fans, and Atlanta needs to ask itself, ‘Does it have die-hard fans?’ That might answer the question as to why players don’t want to come here.” NBA TV’s Steve Smith added, “When you look at the top free agents, there has been an uncertainty of ownership and management in Atlanta and if you are a franchise star player like Chris Paul and Dwight Howard, you want to know who your ownership is. It’s been in flux for several years” (THE DAILY).
ON THE PROWL: In Charlotte, Tom Sorensen notes the Bobcats “held a raffle for their most loyal fans,” with the seven season-ticket holders selected having their ducats delivered by players and execs. Bobcats President & COO Fred Whitfield, President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins, GM Rich Cho and Gs Kemba Walker, D.J. Augustin and Matt Carroll yesterday delivered tickets to the winners (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 12/14).