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.
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.”
Stefanski, not 18 months on the job in Toronto after a long career as the GM of the New Jersey Nets (he made the Vince Carter trade with Toronto) and Philadelphia 76ers, was let go with a year left on his contract. “Not a big surprise, I’m sorry things didn’t work out,” said Stefanski. “It’s the business. What are you going to do?”