Doug Thornton, general manager of S-M-G, which manages the arena, has spoke by telephone with Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley. Arena spokesman Bill Curl says there's some interest. New Orleans is not the only city potentially seeking the money-losing Grizzlies, which received permission yesterday from the N-B-A to look at a possible move. Other cities mentioned as potential destinations include Saint Louis, Las Vegas and Nashville. Last week, Heisley said he had received feelers from Louisville.
According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, another competitor emerged today -- Anaheim, California. The Anaheim Might Ducks of the National Hockey League have a lease with the Arrowhead Arena that forces any N-B-A team moving into the arena to split its revenue with the Ducks' owner, Walt Disney Company.
Thornton said yesterday that one advantage New Orleans has with its new arena is that there is no N-H-L team that an N-B-A franchise would have to compete with. He called the arena, which opened in October 19-99, ready for an N-B-A team.