Michael Wallace: Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace basically told me Jaren Jackson Jr. could become the best shot-blocker and all-around defender the franchise has ever had. That’s high praise considering Marc Gasol was a DPOY and Tony Allen was arguably best defensive guard of his era.
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Michael Wallace: Pera on his commitment to keep Grizzlies in Memphis: “The team will be here longterm … it’s a good challenge we have (to make) every year a sellout, to keep getting more involved in community … I wouldn’t want anything (to do with) a relocation.”
Michael Wallace: Grizz GM Chris Wallace, who attended Michael Porter Jr.’s workout in Chicago last Friday, said Porter “passed his first test.” Wallace on Porter, as Grizzlies ponder options at No. 4 pick: “It’s part one (and) he showed he was alive, well and moving. He passed that first test.”
Michael Wallace: Wallace on Porter’s med info: “That’s going to loom large for him. Before the draft, teams will know where they stand with him. His info has been distributed. It’s a little above my education level to weigh in on that. Appropriate personnel with teams can now render an opinion.”
Michael Wallace: Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace says he will attend Michael Porter Jr.’s draft workout in Chicago this coming weekend. Grizz hold No. 4 pick in June 21 Draft. Wallace also said he’s hopeful of being among teams that get results of Porter’s latest physical.
At the moment, Memphis’ first-round pick in the 2019 draft is owed to Boston. So the Grizzlies have placed a first-round premium on this summer’s high second-round pick. “We’re looking at it like it’s our first-round pick for next year, because we won’t have our first next year,” Grizzlies executive vice president of basketball operations John Hollinger told Grind City Media. “So we really want to hit on that No. 32 pick, because that’s as close as we’re going to get to our first next year. When you look at it, this year’s draft is pretty good and next year’s (may not be as deep). The No. 32 this year might be equivalent to a No. 20 next year. So that’s definitely an important pick for us.”
Instead, there’s a holistic approach to this offseason reboot. Whether Memphis lands first or fifth on Tuesday, they’ll move on to the three-day NBA Draft Combine workouts in Chicago armed with two of the top 32 picks in what’s widely considered one of the deepest drafts in years. From there, the Grizzlies will assess trade scenarios throughout the league, with an option to flip draft picks or other assets for immediate veteran help to complement Mike Conley and Marc Gasol, and fast track a return to the playoffs. In addition to the draft and the trade route, Memphis will have the full midlevel exception in free agency, with several intriguing wing players set to be on the market.
“We have a lot of options,” Wallace said. “I would say the plan on the short-term side of it is to get back into the swing of things, and what we’ve been accustomed to in the last seven years is to be in the playoffs and make some noise. I don’t see why we can’t be a very competitive, viable team next year.”
But Wallace remains confident in his abilities and that the Grizzlies will return to form as a contender next season. “I understand the frustration of this past year,” Wallace said. “But, I’m not going to take sole credit for this, the front office teams I’ve presided over won the most ever games in the history of this franchise. We were seven straight years in the playoffs. We also brought in four of what I call the extended Mt. Rushmore or six most import players in of the franchise. One year out of the playoffs doesn’t necessarily mean we’re out of touch and no longer capable of doing the job.”
Michael Wallace: Biggest takeaways from Grizzlies exit interviews: 1. GM Chris Wallace doesn’t anticipate front-office shakeup 2. Wallace open to exploring trades for top-5 pick 3. Conley/Gasol both vouch for Bickerstaff staying on as coach 4. Gasol to meet with owner Pera on franchise direction
“It got to a point where I felt like I needed to be somewhere else to have a chance to win and be in a franchise that provided me with more consistency, and a shot at winning a championship,” said Pau Gasol, a two-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers. “That’s what I wanted at the time. I was 27 years old. Marc Gasol is at a different stage. Marc has enjoyed the best years of the franchise. They had very good teams. They’ve consistently been a competitive team. Right now, they’re going through a lot of changing with maybe some questionable decisions upstairs. … It’s been a hard year. No question. Marc is a great professional. He gets upset, but he knows he has to just go out and play.”
Meanwhile, the Grizzlies are in the midst of their own major adjustment in anticipation of a trade being finalized in the coming days. Evans left the team at the request of general manager Chris Wallace moments before the start of Wednesday’s 105-101 loss in Indiana as trade discussions with multiple teams intensified. Tyreke Evans, who did not travel with the Grizzlies to Detroit for Thursday’s game, told Grind City Media he spoke with Wallace and was under the impression he would be heading to a team in playoff contention. “I really don’t know how it’s going to turn out, but I’ve heard there’s a lot of interest out there for me, and that’s a good thing,” Evans said as he exited Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana on Wednesday night. “The season hasn’t gone that great, the way we wanted, but I’ve been happy in Memphis and with what I was able to do to help this team.”
That level of production made Tyreke Evans arguably the best bargain signing of the free-agency period last summer when the Grizzlies snagged him on a one-year, $3.3 million deal. But Evans’ production on that contract also makes one of the top trade targets ahead of the deadline for teams in need of a perimeter playmaker and scorer to bolster depth and add punch for a playoff run. The Grizzlies are believed to be seeking a first-round pick in any potential deal for Evans, who will again enter free agency this summer. “This is part of the business,” Evans told Grind City Media. “You understand that as a player, and you just continue to do the best you can do and wait for everything else to play out. I talked to Chris (Wallace) and he told me what the situation was, and that he was happy with everything I was able to come here and try to do. All I know is that if I have to move on, I’m going to end up on a team that’s going to the playoffs and I’ll have a chance to contribute, hopefully the way I have here.”
Michael Wallace: As the Feb. 8 trade deadline looms, Wallace also added the Grizzlies “will remain aggressive in evaluating opportunities to improve our team, whether that’s through player development, the NBA draft, free agency or trades.”
They famously selected Jordan Adams one spot ahead of Rodney Hood in 2014 — after vigorous debate — and then fretted over Adams’ lack of playing time. They purchased the rights to the 35th pick in that draft, and used it on Jarnell Stokes. He’s gone from the NBA, too. They thought hard about selecting Nikola Jokic, sources say, but felt No. 35 was too high. Denver nabbed Jokic six picks later. They tried to trade up for T.J. Warren, but found no takers, sources say. Selecting Hasheem Thabeet No. 2 in 2009 has receded from memory, but it is the kind of what-if that ruins a franchise.
The Grizzlies will certainly trade Gasol. When he asks to be traded. I bring this up in the wake of an ESPN story in which Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace says, “We have no intention to trade Marc.” Wallace couldn’t have said anything else, of course, but the quote fits everything the Grizzlies have said for years. They aren’t trying to tank or rebuild or pick whatever verb you prefer. They want to win as much as they can for as long as they can. If they wind up missing the playoff this year, they’ll be able to add a lottery pick during the offseason and try to be back in the playoffs next year, when they owe a protected first-round pick to the Boston Celtics as part of the Jeff Green deal.
Peter Edmiston: Marc Gasol: “I was shocked by (the firing) Me: Did you ask for Fizdale to be fired? Marc: “No. Not at all.” Me: Did you speak to Robert Pera? Marc: “I spoke to Robert – I found out after the decision was made. They let me know the direction but not before the decision was made.”
Randolph, who hired a chef to help him lose weight and eat healthier, wants to play a few more years, but admits to pondering the NBA afterlife. Player development, maybe. An NBA front office position, maybe. A job in Memphis is his preference, but if not, Sacramento would be fine.
The Grizzlies announced that Tony Allen’s No.9 will be retired in Memphis after his career ends. “Tony was a driving force behind the Grizzlies’ seven straight playoff appearances and he remains a beloved member of the Memphis community,” Grizzlies owner Robert Pera said in a statement. “Tony played with a level of passion that is unrivaled. He helped establish a Grizzlies culture focused on toughness and effort, and he challenged every player that put on Beale Street Blue to match his fiery intensity. On behalf of the entire organization, I would like to thank him for his incredible contributions to the Grizzlies and the unique way that he inspired the city of Memphis. We are proud that the Grindfather’s #9 jersey will hang in the rafters of FedExForum alongside Zach’s one day.”
It was nice to hear the optimism coming from any and all at Grizzlies media day whenever the topic of Parsons came up. Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace: “He’s cleared to be a full participant.” Grizzlies coach David Fizdale: “I’m not going to use kid gloves with him this year, for sure.” Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley: “He’s the X-factor for us. He’s the guy. Looking for a big year from him.”
Retired forward Tayshaun Prince will soon be named special assistant to Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace, according to several NBA sources. Prince, 37, played for the Grizzlies from Jan. 2013-15. Prince and Austin Daye were traded to the Grizzlies in a three-team deal that sent Rudy Gay and Hamed Haddadi to the Toronto Raptors, and the Raptors sent José Calderón to the Detroit Pistons. The Grizzlies also received Ed Davis from the Raptors.
Ronald Tillery: Hearing that Grizzlies are negotiating with Tayshaun Prince to become special assistant to the general manager… CA story coming
Not only are there differences among the owners. Sources claim Rod Thorn, a longtime NBA executive who is now a consultant for the Bucks and has spearheaded the GM search with Edens, also has a differing viewpoint on whom the next Bucks GM should be. Thorn, according to several NBA officials, is pushing hard for Ed Stefanski, the vice president of player personnel for the Memphis Grizzlies who worked with Thorn in New Jersey and Philadelphia.
“I think the deal that set us up for the future was the Pau Gasol trade,” said Wallace, who described the atmosphere surrounding the team at that time as “non-electric.” ” … We didn’t really do anything dramatic in the (2007) offseason, we go into the season, and I could just tell with Pau Gasol that his candle had been doused. He really didn’t want to be with us anymore. His spirit wasn’t there, wasn’t in it. And we had a couple more years with him.”
“I felt we set ourselves up for the future, and if the Lakers win a championship, so be it,” Wallace said. “Both teams are supposed to, in theory, profit in a trade. That’s not my problem what the Lakers got out of it or what issues it caused competitors of the Lakers. I’m working for the Grizzlies and trying to set our franchise up for the future, and I think as time has proven, nobody had a deal that put us in a position to chart a new course for the future like that deal did, and it worked out.”
Memphis Grizzlies Controlling Owner Robert Pera announced today that General Manager Chris Wallace, Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations John Hollinger and Executive Vice President of Player Personnel Ed Stefanski have been signed to multi-year extensions with the organization. Per team policy, terms of the extensions will not be disclosed. “I am pleased to announce that our Basketball Operations executive team, led by General Manager, Chris Wallace, will continue to lead our franchise for years to come,” Pera said. “Chris, John and Ed bring a wealth of NBA experience and success, and have done a tremendous job establishing the strong culture that I believe is necessary to ensure sustained success in this ultra-competitive environment. More importantly, I am confident that the toughness, resilience, discipline and unselfishness that are embedded in the fabric of our culture will continue to serve as a point of pride for Memphis, the surrounding region and all Grizzlies fans.”
Memphis Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace today announced the hiring of Allen Gruver as Medical Director, the promotion of Jim Scholler to Head Athletic Trainer and the addition of Eric Oetter as Director of Performance. As Medical Director, Gruver’s responsibilities include overseeing and directing the team’s medical team, performance team, nutrition team and sports science team in an effort to ensure long-term player health. Gruver comes to Memphis after spending the previous eight years as the owner and director of Foothills Sports Medicine in Gilbert, Ariz. where he specialized in the rehabilitation of professional and amateur athletes of all sports.
Peter Edmiston: Chris Wallace: “Now more than ever, everybody (in the organization) has to be constantly communicating.”
Peter Edmiston: Chris Wallace: “When it’s time to actually act on a decision, we tell (Robert Pera) where we’d like to go, and he’s very supportive.”
Q: What do you make of the reports that Wallace interviewed for a front office job with Sacramento? A: I’m not sure what to make of them. Wallace has flatly denied the reports. Other Grizzlies sources have said they’re not true. But it wasn’t some rinky-dink outfit reporting this. It was USA Today and ESPN. I also talked to a source on the Sacramento side, who not only said Wallace interviewed for a job, he entered into contract negotiations and would have taken the gig except the Kings decided to go another way. Logic would tell you it makes no sense for Wallace to take a lesser job with the Kings, but logic would also tell you that ESPN and USA Today don’t just make things up.
Brian Geltzeiler: League sources also told http://Hoopscritic.com that ultimately Vlade hired Catanella because he came at a cheaper price and was no threat
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July 17, 2018 | 10:32 am EDT Update
According to sources, Okafor, the No. 3 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, worked out for four teams last Wednesday in Las Vegas, and remains hopeful of signing with a team ahead of training camp next fall. Okafor averaged 17.5 points per game as a rookie in Philadelphia in 2015-16. He has spent the last few months working out in Miami with trainers David Alexander and Idan Ravin, fueling speculation that he could land with the Heat, especially if Miami finds a trading partner for Hassan Whiteside.
He will not be back with the Nets, the last team for which he played, a source said. Okafor has had interest from the Pacers and Bulls, among others, this summer but neither were at the workout in Las Vegas.
These are the real boys of summer, the grinders using the 12-day audition in the desert to impress NBA executives enough to earn the honor of an invitation to training camp. Take Cooley, 27, the unofficial dean of NBA Summer League stars. This is Cooley’s sixth stint in Vegas. He’s a member of the Phoenix Suns now, a teammate of Ayton’s. Before that he was a Sacramento King, setting screens for De’Aaron Fox, and before that a Cleveland Cavalier, throwing outlet passes to Andrew Wiggins. For Cooley, this was never a dream. In 2009, he chose Notre Dame, not for a springboard to the NBA, but because it had a top business school. “I used basketball to get the best education,” Cooley said.
But when he graduated, NBA teams called. Some 18 brought him in for pre-draft workouts. When he went undrafted, he started getting invitations to Summer League. “I remember my first year I was struggling to remember all the plays,” Cooley said. “Now my sixth year, this is the most complicated offense I’ve had, but it’s second nature, basic easy stuff. It’s a lot easier to understand.”
There’s Justin Harper, with the New York Knicks. Casper Ware, with the Portland Trail Blazers. Brady Heslip with the Memphis Grizzlies. There are no paychecks for playing in Summer League. There’s per diem, around $100 per day. There’s a hotel room, two-hour practices, daily bus rides and no guarantee of playing time. “It’s a grind, man,” Machado said. “Every time you come out to Summer League, everyone is trying to prove themselves. Me, trying to facilitate, sometimes you overthink it. Every time you come back, you think, ‘Man I did this already.’ It’s a constant grind and constant pressure you put on yourself.”
As Summer League winds down, most of the boys of summer will disperse. Some will sign on with G League teams, to maximize exposure. Others will ink European contracts, where the money is better. They will ride buses to small towns in the U.S. or live in isolation in far-flung cities around the world. They will do it, and they will hope for an invitation back to Las Vegas next summer, for the opportunity to impress once again. “There’s only about 1% of me that thinks about not playing,” Cooley said. “This life is pretty intense. But I love it, I’m glad it’s not easy. Not playing would be a terrible itch that I wouldn’t be able to scratch. I know once the time comes, I will definitely be a part of the game, because I’ll go crazy if I go cold-turkey out of basketball. But right now, I’m a player. The body of work I have put together has caused a pretty good stir here. I believe I’m an NBA player. I believe I can play in the league for a long time.”