Ed Stefanski Rumors

In addition to agreeing last March to keep Mills as his right-hand man — upon owner James Dolan’ s recommendation — Jackson retained veteran executive John Gabriel, promoted from director of pro scouting to director of basketball operations, and gave him more influence. Player personnel director Mark Warkentien, meanwhile, lost some power. He interviewed in Memphis for a front-office position that ultimately went to former Nets president Ed Stefanski.
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The Memphis Grizzlies have reached agreement with well-respected executive Ed Stefanski to become executive vice president of player personnel, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Stefanski will assume a key role in the Grizzlies’ player personnel and scouting areas, serving under general manager Chris Wallace, sources said. Stefanski brings a strong player personnel background, as well as excellent relationships with front-office peers and agents.
Meanwhile, as the GM of the New Jersey Nets, Ed Stefanski was trying to help team president Rod Thorn solve a problem. Two years after making the NBA Finals, the Nets were crumbling, and Stefanski (who later worked for the Raptors) looked north and saw an opportunity. “You hear or read that he and the coach aren’t eye-to-eye, and you pick up the phone,” he says. “There’s nothing I did that was special. You call 30 teams, but we were fortunate.” The deal went down in 24 hours. “When I mentioned the two first-round picks, they got real excited,” says Stefanski. “I got off the phone, and the next day we completed the deal.”
Look, it doesn’t really matter what Anselmi thinks of Bryan Colangelo and it’s folly to think just because the new guy got the titles full time that some kind of sweeping change is afoot. The season is upon us; it’s not time for any kind of change and none is coming. As far as I know – and this comes from a few months around the building and a couple of calls and e-mails yesterday – their working relationship is just fine; the guy at the top knows to leave Bryan and Ed Stefanski to do their jobs and there’s no reason to think that changes today.
“I believe in the rookie year — I don’t know how many minutes [he’ll play], that’s up to coach Casey — but I believe they’ll see a guy that they’re going to put their arms around and get excited [about],” Stefanski said. “People in Toronto, from what I’ve seen so far, they want guys that are going to hustle. They want grinders. In hockey they call them muckers, or whatever they call them.
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2012 NBA Draft prospect Jeremy Lamb was in Toronto on Thursday to workout for the Toronto Raptors, but rolled his ankle very early on and was not able to complete the session. “Jeremy Lamb went down early in the process, so you have to make do,” said Raptors Executive VP Ed Stefanski. “This is a process, we have done work all year long. This is to get to meet the kid, take him out and have a meal with him and see what he is like, but you would rather have the guys healthy as they are going one-on-one against each other.”
So now that Colangelo’s contractual situation has been solved, he is talking about . . . a succession plan? “I can say that succession planning is definitely thought of in an important regard here with this organization,” Colangelo said Thursday, as he sat beside Ed Stefanski, the Raptors’ new executive vice-president of basketball operations. “It’s important when you’ve got the size and scope of the business that we have to get things in place. I wanted someone, and I believe the board wanted someone, that had (general manager) credentials.”
“Ed Stefanski embodies everything I was hoping to attain when the search began for a top level basketball executive to join our staff,” said Colangelo. “Ed brings to the table experience, smarts, and a great feel for the game and of people.” “I am very excited to join Bryan Colangelo and the Raptors organization,” Stefanski said. “Toronto is a world class city and the Raptors fans are strong supporters.
The Toronto Raptors announced Wednesday they have hired Ed Stefanski as the team’s executive vice president of basketball operations. Stefanski joins the Raptors from upper management positions with the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets, where his teams qualified for the NBA playoffs in eight of the past nine seasons. In his position, Stefanski will report to Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo.
Stefanski, who was fired as the 76ers’ GM a week ago, will report to Raptors president-GM Bryan Colangelo, who will still have final say on basketball matters. Stefanski will ultimately replace Masai Ujiri, who left Toronto to become the Denver Nuggets GM last year. Colangelo conducted a lengthy search and ultimately targeted Stefanski in recent weeks for the job. Former New Orleans Hornets GM Jeff Bower was the runner-up. San Antonio Spurs assistant GM Dennis Lindsey had been a strong candidate, too.
According to an NBA source, talks between the Toronto Raptors and Stefanski for their vacant GM job have “heated up.” “I’m incredibly thankful for Eddie trusting me to be the coach,” said Collins, a huge Stefanski backer. “I didn’t butt heads with [ownership] at all about the decision. As we sat down, and you know how strongly I feel about Eddie and I think he’s an incredible president or GM, but I think the way they explained it best was they thought they had two guys who were fulfilling the same role. Eddie and Rod are both qualified to be presidents of organizations. But my hopes and prayers are that Eddie is going to land on his feet and that he’s going to get a great job. Somebody out there is going to get a heck of a basketball guy.
So maybe the new owners of the Philadelphia 76ers, a partnership group led by buyout financier Joshua Harris, are banking on the distressed economy and the ongoing N.B.A. lockout makes this a good time to buy distressed property. The deal, which started in April, with Comcast-Spectator, was approved by the N.B.A. Board of Governors and completed Monday. The terms of the sale were not disclosed. The new ownership group, which includes minority partners such as rapper/actor Will Smith and his wife, actress Jada Pinkett-Smith, is not wasting time making changes during their first day in charge: General Manager Ed Stefanski has been fired, ticket prices have been slashed, and a new team slogan was unveiled during a Tuesday press conference in Philadelphia. Harris announced Rod Thorn will be staying as team president, and Doug Collins remains as head coach. “We were lucky enough when we bought the team to have two fantastic people doing one job,” Harris said. “We are going to stay with Rod. There are no current plans to replace Ed.”
Speculation had been that Jason Levien, a former NBA player agent and executive with the Sacramento Kings, would be involved in player personnel. Levien is one of the minority owners. Asked about ownership’s involvement in player personnel, Harris said, “You can be assured that we are interested owners. We will be very focused, with lots of debate about what we do with players. At the end of the day, Rod is the captain of that ship. He will run that part of our organization. We will speak with you through one voice, Rod and Doug [Collins] voice when it comes to players.”
General manager Ed Stefanski has been relieved on his duties, the new Sixers owners announced in their introductory press conference. Rod Thorn will remain as team president and will be the “captain of the ship,” according to majority owner Josh Harris. “We were lucky enough when we bought the team to have two fantastic people doing one job,” Harris said. “We are going to stay with Rod. There are no current plans to replace Ed.”