Western Conference Franchise Notes: A Peek Inside The Grizzlies' Brain Trust
In Memphis, Kyle Veazey wrote in the "culture of the Grizzlies’ current front office, dissent is encouraged." Ideas are "submitted with the expressed intent of having people shoot holes in them." Team execs, including CEO & Managing Partner Jason Levien, Dir of Player Personnel & Basketball Development Stu Lash, VP/Basketball Operations John Hollinger, GM Chris Wallace and General Counsel David Mincberg, said that the "goal is simple." It is to "bring enough divergent viewpoints into the decision-making process that every base is covered, every idea vetted to the extreme with open minds" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 10/28).
PELICAN BRIEF: In New Orleans, Nakia Hogan wrote after an offseason that "saw the team rebranded, its home arena renovated, its practice facility built and its roster overhauled, the Pelicans appear to be heading in the right direction." Team Owner Tom Benson said, "The excitement is real with our players and coaches ... The new practice facility and the new improvements to the arena are just a couple of off-the-court improvements we have made that certainly I believe the team is excited about. I believe our fans are also excited about the new talent we have acquired this offseason in addition to the new name, colors and logo." He added, "Our fans want to see that the team is heading in the right direction, and I believe they see that in this team" (NOLA.com, 10/25).
THE SUN ALSO RISES: USA Basketball Chair and former Suns Owner Jerry Colangelo said the Suns "seem to finally have a direction," adding they "seem to have taken some positive steps forward." In Phoenix, Dan Bickley noted though the "local optimism is striking," it "doesn't mesh with the pundits." Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby said, "People are embracing the clarity in which we're rebuilding." Bickley wrote the "civic anticipation also confirms the Suns' unique status in Arizona." At their "best, the Suns have transcended their sport and the region." Bickley: "It might even suggest that we are, above all else, a basketball town at heart." The Suns have "gained respect by admitting mistakes that littered the road behind them," as Owner Robert Sarver "has owned up to his own misdoings." Babby: "New people come in and they want to make changes. And I think we did have to make changes" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 10/27).
WEST L.A. FADEAWAY: Lakers C Chris Kaman, who played for the Clippers from '03-10, said of his former team, "I respect what they're doing and what they’ve done, but still, they're nothing like the Lakers. You look up here at all the championships. They're never going to have that." He added, “Before, the owner, Donald Sterling, didn't care about winning. He cared about sharing that luxury money. I think it was all about save as much money as I can, get as much highlight players and still people will come watch. That’s what he did for a long time.” Kaman: "I don’t know if he’s getting older, I don't want to say that out of respect, but I think he is getting older and he wants to see the fruits of his labor and he's willing to spend some more money" (LATIMES.com, 10/28).