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Volume 24 No. 137
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Franchise Notes

In Memphis, Geoff Calkins writes Grizzlies CEO & Managing Partner Jason Levien and Owner Robert Pera are "not trying to destroy the franchise" by reportedly not bringing back coach Lionel Hollins. They are "not ... trying to tear down and move the team." The new ownership group bought the franchise and "immediately recommitted to Memphis." They "brought in local owners and extended the lease." They made "a smart trade" in dealing F Rudy Gay and "wound up in the Western Conference Finals." Calkins: "Not a bad first few months." This decision "may or may not work out for the Grizzlies in the long run, but let's judge it on its merits, not on some nutty, deep-seated fear about the future of the Griz" (, 6/3).

FALLING INTO A BLACK HOLE: In Sacramento, Victor Contreras writes former Raiders Media Relations Dir Zak Gilbert was "a godsend to the media covering the Raiders." Unlike in late Owner Al Davis' era, Gilbert and his staff "kept the media updated on team transactions, practice schedules, availability of players and coaches, and upcoming team events." Gilbert did "his best to represent the Raiders positively while helping the media do their job" (, 6/4). SI's Peter King said, "The firing of the PR guy is symptomatic of bigger problems in which these are the same old Raiders" ("SI Now,", 6/3). In San Diego, Tom Krasovic wrote under the header, "Firing Shows Raiders Still Paranoid, Kooky" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 6/3).

:'s Tom Dart wrote it is "hard to construct a sporting, business or marketing case for the continued existence of" MLS club Chivas USA. The stands at Home Depot Center on Saturday night "were sparsely populated" for a game against the Sounders. The venue "is typically two-thirds empty -- at best -- when Chivas plays." The Goats are the "runts of the MLS litter and it is hard to imagine that rival owners in the bigger U.S. leagues would tolerate the continued existence of such weakening" (, 6/2).