SBD/Issue 221/Franchises

Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace Defends Decision To Cut Scouts

Wallace Defends Laying Off Full-Time Scouts,
Says Team Has "Adequate Coverage"
Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace appeared on Memphis' WHBQ-AM yesterday and discussed the team’s decision to let go of its full-time scouts. Wallace said the club let go two domestic scouts and one in Europe, with the “possibility one of those guys may come back and work with us." He said the team has “adequate coverage" in Europe, adding, "We know what's going on." Wallace: "Right now we have, including our European person, five people -- and I'm included in that five -- involved in our scouting efforts." Wallace noted there are several ways teams can approach scouting. Wallace: “You can have people in all these areas around the country or you can consolidate the scouting into the hands of a smaller group that is going to be responsible for the success or failure of the actual decisions that a team makes. We went the route of a smaller number involved in the scouting efforts, but we're all doing the same things we've done before." Wallace said he did not believe the move to let go of the scouts “was a big issue.” Wallace: “I don't feel that we are at a competitive disadvantage at all. I think it's the type of story that is very easy to grab on to and say, 'The Grizzlies are being cheap.' … I think we're unfairly tabbed as a team that's only looking at the dollar amounts" (WHBQ-AM, 8/4).

IS COST PLAYING A ROLE? ESPN's Michael Wilbon said an “underlying theme” in the Grizzlies’ moves is that Owner Michael Heisley “doesn't want to spend any money.” Wilbon: “There's a lot of resentment that he left Vancouver, and he feels that he was influenced by the league to leave Vancouver for Memphis. … They didn't make the money that he has told others privately he expected to make in that market and now, as a result of that, he is just shutting it down." ESPN's Tony Kornheiser: "I do think you need a full-time scout outside the borders of the United States for European and South American talent, Asian talent." But Wilbon said, "They only draft in the top five. They should know everybody, because God knows they ain't drafting at the bottom of the first round" ("PTI," ESPN, 8/3).

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