NBA Names In The News: Grizzlies' Zach Kleiman Ready For New Era
The Grizzlies tomorrow will "begin a new era with a fresh group of players and a lead executive" in Exec VP/Basketball Operations Zach Kleiman. Just six months into his tenure, Kleiman has "laid a new foundation for the franchise" by drafting rookie G Ja Morant, trading G Mike Conley to the Jazz and "overhauling the roster." Kleiman "landed a job at Proskauer Rose after law school that allowed him to work closely with the NBA and several franchises." His "venture into law was not plan B." Rather, it was a "key element to his plan A: the way to fast-track his NBA front-office aspirations." The Grizzlies hired Kleiman in '15 as team counsel. He was just 27 at the time. His rise in the Grizzlies' front office "required patience" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 10/22).
HOMECOMING: More than a year after the Jazz welcomed Justin Zanik "back with open arms," he embarks upon the '19-20 season with the GM title "finally etched onto his name plate and a fervor building over the potential of a team he helped piece together." Zanik was an Assistant GM for the Jazz from '13-16 before leaving for the same position with Bucks. He returned to the Jazz in '17 before being promoted to GM this offseason. Jazz Exec VP/Basketball Operations Dennis Lindsey "hoped, as a friend, that Zanik would find success with the Bucks." That said, he "didn't hire another assistant GM during the span of Zanik's absence." Zanik returned to the Jazz with "no promise of a promotion on the horizon." But he "exhibited the chops for the job" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 10/20).
MUSIC MAN: ROLLING STONE's Daniel Kreps profiled Trail Blazers G Damian Lillard, who is hoping to reach the "zenith of two viciously competitive arenas" as "both a basketball player and a rapper." Lillard over the summer "released his third album" under the name Dame D.O.L.L.A. His latest album is his "strongest and most complete statement as a hip-hop artist yet." The athlete/rapper has "formulated a plan so Dame D.O.L.L.A. could stay active while Lillard concentrated on basketball" (ROLLINGSTONE.com, 10/18).
THE GOOD STUFF: Celtics F Jaylen Brown held his "first community gala' Saturday night in Boston. The event "raised money for the Boys & Girls Club of Boston, the No Books No Ball Basketball Program" and Celtics G Marcus Smart's YounGameChanger Foundation. Nearly the "entire Celtics roster made an appearance," as did Managing Partner Steve Pagliuca and actor Donnie Wahlberg (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/22).