I’m surprised to learn that you needed to be sold on Casey. Given his background, why is that? Tom Gores: “As much as he brings in experience, we really wanted to make sure that he really liked this team. He knew our players, he liked the team. He really dove in over different parts so I feel like we were very fortunate, but we didn’t say ‘Dwane Casey, coach of the year, let’s just hire him.’ We really vetted it out and I think he did his homework, too. He could have taken any job he wanted next year and he could have easily waited a year, but he thought this was special.”
Let’s go back to your decision to fire Stan. You speak of him in very respectful tones that can be rare when it comes time for change. How difficult was that decision? Tom Gores: “It was tough — one of the tougher ones I’ve made in a lot of years. It was emotional because Stan’s a good man. He’s not only a good man, he was a hard-working guy. He also made progress for us. We lost momentum at the end.”
Tom Gores: “Stan and I took a couple weeks and we met. It was clear that we had lost momentum and we had some front-office dynamics that I think complicated things. Because of all that, it just pointed to let’s make a change. It was the right thing for both of us, but I don’t take away what he helped us establish — or him as a person — at all.”
Grizzlies controlling owner Robert Pera emerged Tuesday in FedExForum after being disconnected from Memphis for more than a year. He met with general manager Chris Wallace and other members of the front office as they prepare for the June 21 NBA draft. The Grizzlies own the No. 4and No. 32 picks. Pera didn’t address local media and declined numerous requests.
Pera is optimistic that the franchise can bounce back after having its seven-year playoff run end abruptly. “Assuming Marc (Gasol) and Mike (Conley) come back healthy, I think we have a couple of surrounding pieces that are younger players that are going to make a positive impact,” Pera told the media outlet he employs. “We’ll get another good player in this draft. I see no reason why we can’t return to being a 50-win plus team.”
What is important — Kerr revealed something on the Lowe Post Podcast on Monday: “Typical Andre — he decided to play a joke on Bob and me. He got us on a conference call, told us he was gonna go to Sacramento. We wished him well, and he’s like, ‘I got you suckers. I’m coming back’ … that’s probably the first time it’s ever been told. But now that we’ve won a title and we got it all in our rearview mirror, that story can be told.” Did Kerr’s heart sink? “I bought it for a few seconds but he gave it away quickly. He just started laughing .. it would have been shocking for him to leave this situation.”