HoopsHype Chris Wallace rumors

January 25, 2013 Updates
January 24, 2013 Updates

Yesterday, the Memphis Grizzlies traded Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby and a future first-round pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Jon Leuer. The deal was essentially a salary dump that gets the Grizzlies out of the luxury tax, putting them approximately $2.2 million under the threshold. Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace admitted that there were financial motivations behind the trade, and also explained why Memphis pulled the trigger on this trade now. “There are financial ramifications for the deal – the luxury tax territory isn’t something that any team takes lightly or wants to get into,” Wallace said. “Every year you’re a taxpayer and then eventually there’s a repeater tax down the road so you want to get out whenever you can. The deal also gives us more flexibility in the future in terms of the trade [exceptions] that we picked up. We picked up an [exception] for every player – Speights, Ellington and Selby – which allows us to do more in a trade. There are some potential basketball benefits.” HoopsWorld

January 23, 2013 Updates
December 18, 2012 Updates
December 14, 2012 Updates

Sources with knowledge of the Grizzlies' thinking insist that this week's hires of ESPN's John Hollinger and veteran agent Stu Lash don't change the status of Grizz general manager Chris Wallace. All three will report to Grizz CEO/managing partner Jason Levien, who has the final say on basketball matters in Memphis under new controlling owner Robert Pera. Yet sources likewise insist that Hollinger will indeed have a prominent voice in personnel matters beyond merely supplying statistical analysis to support decisions. ESPN.com

December 13, 2012 Updates
November 19, 2012 Updates
November 15, 2012 Updates

Ric Bucher: Third time's a charm for Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien. The former agent crossed over to a team front office with the Kings but eventually got squeezed out. Same happened with 76ers where, a source says, coach Doug Collins gave a him-or-me ultimatum. No word on what Levien did or if being bounced was justified, but HC Lionel Hollins and GM Chris Wallace are now officially Test Case #3. Sulia

November 5, 2012 Updates

Levien reiterated during the public press conference that there are no current plans to replace any of the organization's top decision makers, instead suggesting that he and Pera's team would be evaluating what's already in place. “I know Chris [Wallace] and I have a lot of respect for Chris. I'm looking forward to sitting down with them in this process,” Levien said in regard to current vice president of basketball operations Chris Wallace, coach Lionel Hollins, and the rest of the basketball staff. Memphis Flyer

One name not mentioned was Daniel Straus, a New York-based founder and CEO of the health-care company CareOne. I had heard over the weekend that Straus would be part of the group and I spotted a jersey with his name displayed on a table when I entered the press conference, but he was not named and Levien declined afterward to confirm his participation. Memphis Flyer

Pera said he wants to make FedExForum the most technologically advanced arena in the country. He said he wants to use advanced analytics to evaluate players, like the sort used in "Moneyball." He said he wants to build a player-centric culture in Memphis, so players will think of Memphis as a destination. And, yes, at this last one, I rolled my eyes, too. But that's the thing about youth. It tends to dream big. That's supposed to be a good thing, isn't it? Besides, Pera doesn't come across as rash and impulsive, but thoughtful and deliberate. He picked Levien to essentially run the franchise, on the business and basketball sides. The two of them won't make any decisions about Chris Wallace, Greg Campbell or Lionel Hollins until they have a chance to see how the team operates. "We were focused on closing the deal," he said. "We want to learn more." Memphis Commercial Appeal

Memphis Grizzlies Chairman Robert Pera announced today that he has named seasoned sports executive Jason Levien as the new Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner of Memphis Basketball, LLC, which operates the Memphis Grizzlies and FedExForum. In this role, Levien will have leadership responsibility for the entire organization; serve as the ownership group's Managing Partner and as an Alternate NBA Governor. “Jason and I share a vision for building a world-class team on and off-the-court,” Grizzlies Chairman Robert Pera said. “He has my complete trust, confidence and support in how best to lead our organization's efforts." Sulia

Levien will serve as CEO of Memphis Basketball LLC -- an entity that owns the Grizzlies and will operate FedExForum. Levien is expected to supplant general manager Chris Wallace as the primary decision maker for basketball decisions. "We haven't decided anything," Levien said Sunday in an interview with The Commercial Appeal. "We want to be thoughtful about it and respectful about it. We want to do what's best for the organization." Memphis Commercial Appeal

Among the highlights from the 45-minute interview with Pera and Levien: -- The group will get to know coach Lionel Hollins, who is in the final year of his contract, before acting on his future. Levien, the CEO and managing partner, will be over general manager Chris Wallace, and his exact role has not been determined. Memphis Commercial Appeal

Robert Pera saw how others handled their wealth once they become successful, spending it on new cars or multimillion dollar homes. Those things weren't for him. "For me, I just really like working," Pera said Sunday, in his first public comments since agreeing earlier this year to buy the Memphis Grizzlies. "And those things don't interest me that much. But being involved in the NBA, and potentially owning a team, that was a dream. Once I got to a position where that seemed possible, I started the process." Memphis Commercial Appeal

Pera, who wore jeans, Nikes and a hooded sweatshirt, said he looked at several teams before deciding to purchase the Griz. He and Levien visited Memphis on March 27, when the Griz played the Timberwolves, and Pera said he sensed the "energy" and the team's meaning to the city. That helped sell him not just on the team, but on its potential to make more of a connection, he said. Memphis Commercial Appeal

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