HoopsHype Jason Levien rumors


January 31, 2013 Updates

The Grizzlies issued a statement on the trade late Wednesday, and embarrassingly had "general manager Chris Wallace" throw out the obligatory organizational quotes on the deal. Only, Wallace had nothing to do with the trade. Nothing. He isn't making calls to teams. He isn't consulted by the new regime. He's waiting until they agree on the terms of his inevitable parting. So, Pera and new CEO Jason Levien take an unpopular trade and assign it to Wallace in the news release. Yahoo! Sports

Levien is making these deals based largely on the recommendations of John Hollinger, a statistician who worked for a cable sports company. The San Antonio Spurs once used him as a consultant and regretfully took his advice to sign a free agent named Jackie Butler. It was such a disaster, the Spurs had to attach Luis Scola to a trade to get Butler out of town. Yahoo! Sports

January 30, 2013 Updates
January 29, 2013 Updates

With more than three months on the job, Levien has begun to transform the Grizzlies with some unexpected additions to his front office staff, tapping long-time business associate Stu Lash to oversee player personnel and long-time sports reporter and advanced analytics guru John Hollinger, formerly from ESPN, as his vice president of basketball operations. "Both guys needed to be recruited a little bit," Levien told USA Today Sports. "I put my agent hat on, but I think both guys were excited." USA Today Sports

Hiring Lash seemed almost inevitable, as he and Levien have a long history together. However, hiring Hollinger away from ESPN was something of a surprise. "I always read his stuff so I sort of knew him from reading his stuff and saying, 'This guy is smart and he writes really well,'" Levien said. "We spent time at the Sloan Conference together (an annual sports analytics conference held by MIT in Boston), and I liked him even more. "I leaned on John when I was an agent a few times to give me advice on how I can use analytics in promoting my clients through negotiation and even in the draft. I understood what he was looking at and what he saw and how that equated to what I was looking at and what I saw. And I said, 'This guy really gets it, he's really sharp.'" USA Today Sports

"If you look at the dynamic of our group, with Jason making the final decision," Lash says, "Chris brings a tremendous amount of experience and he's been here, he's done a great job with the foundation and the core of what this team is. John and myself, having different backgrounds and the transition early on was not very difficult. Chris was very open on how he got to this point with this team and it's been good." It's this kind of synergy of information that Levien envisioned when he brought together his front office. "We definitely have a plan and vision for what the future here looks like," Hollinger said. "I'm sure you want me to share all of it, but unfortunately I can't really disclose USA Today Sports

January 24, 2013 Updates
January 14, 2013 Updates

Griz CEO Jason Levien declined to comment when asked recently about persistent reports that the team is shopping Rudy Gay and gauging the value of other core players such as Zach Randolph. Memphis Commercial Appeal

January 13, 2013 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

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 6, 2012 Updates

Hollins first met Griz chairman Robert Pera Monday night before the 103-94 win over Utah. CEO Jason Levien had lunch with Hollins Sunday, and now they are in the get-to-know-you stage. Levien said he "walked away so impressed, which is hard not to be." Hollins understands that there is a process to advance toward possible contract negotiations. "I didn't get to know (former owner) Mike Heisley in a day," Hollins said. "(Jason) is a nice guy. He's a smart guy and I enjoyed our conversation." Memphis Commercial Appeal

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

Jason Levien remembers the first time he played basketball with Robert Pera. They were in Taiwan. They decided to go to opposite ends of the court to warm up. "I look down there, and he's throwing it down," said Levien. Yes, Memphians. Your new Grizzlies owner can dunk. He's 6-3 and can get off the deck. He looks like he could be starting at forward for Rhodes or CBU. Now he's sitting in a luxury box in FedExForum, talking about his plans for his new NBA team. Someone asks him if he's met any of the Grizzlies players yet. "I met some, when we came here in March," he said. "But they might have thought I was Heisley's grandson." 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

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