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Volume 26 No. 28
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Grizzlies' Robert Pera Makes Sweeping Changes To Front Office

Wexler will be promoted to president of the team, overseeing both business and basketball operations
Photo: NBAE/getty images

Grizzlies Controlling Owner Robert Pera made "sweeping changes to the organization" on Thursday by firing coach J.B. Bickerstaff and reassigning GM Chris Wallace, along with several other moves, according to David Cobb of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. Grizzlies President of Business Operations Jason Wexler will be promoted to President and "oversee both business and basketball operations." Assistant GM and team Counsel Zach Kleiman will be promoted to Exec VP/Basketball Operations. Meanwhile, VP/Basketball Operations John Hollinger will "move into a senior advisory role." Wallace before the moves were announced "seemed secure in his future when he spoke with reporters Thursday morning." However, by 3:30pm CT, "all had changed." The Grizzlies now "will search for their fifth head coach since" the '13 season (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 4/12). In Memphis, Chris Herrington noted the Grizzlies are "expected to conduct a search for one or more veteran executives to round out the new front office." Grizzlies Special Adviser Tayshaun Prince, Dir of Player Personnel Chris Makris and VP/Team Operations & Player Programs Chantal Hassard are all "expected to remain in the same capacities" (DAILYMEMPHIAN.com, 4/11).

LOSE-LOSE SITUATION: In Memphis, Mark Giannotto in a front-page piece writes the Grizzlies "did exactly what most of their fans wanted them to do Thursday, and they still messed it up." Pera "did the impossible," as he "turned Wallace into something of a sympathetic figure by embarrassing him." He allowed Wallace to "get in front of a gaggle of microphones Thursday morning for an end-of-season press conference and allowed Bickerstaff to do the same." Giannotto: "Imagine if your boss sent you out in front of cameras and put you in a position to say things that essentially would make you look like a fool a few hours later." This was another "blunder by an ownership group that seems to specialize in them." There was a "decent and professional way" to make the changes, but "this wasn’t it" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 4/12). Also in Memphis, Geoff Calkins wrote only the Grizzlies "could turn a day that should have sparked massive celebrations across the fan base into a day of puzzlement." Pera was "right to make sweeping changes," but the "sweeping changes he chose to make are either inspired or crazy" (DAILYMEMPHIAN.com, 4/11).