Major changes may be on the way for the Memphis Grizzlies.
Some of those changes have already taken place in the ousting of team CEO Jason Levien and assistant general manager Stu Lash according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com. According to reports, majority owner Robert Pera‘s relationship has been on the rocks for a while and has led to shakeups within the organization, be it in the front office or the coaching staff, every offseason including this one. Multiple reports have also leaked out that head coach Dave Joerger and vice president of basketball operations John Hollinger‘s jobs may not be safe either.
All of these things point to an uncertain future for the time being for the Grizzlies. Pera as well as interim head of basketball operations Chris Wallace will need to figure out the foundation that they both want to build this team on. What kind of coach do they want running the team? What kind of players do they want to bring into the locker room and who would be best suited to figure out how to obtain these players? All of these questions are going to need to be answered relatively soon, as the 2014 NBA Draft is right around the corner and a week after that the free agency period begins. Not many free agents, especially veterans who are looking for a team capable of contending, will want to walk into an organization with such uncertainty.
If the Grizzlies do decide to let go of Joerger, there are multiple head coaching options the team could consider. Joerger tried to play more of an up-tempo offense at the beginning of the regular season, which did not suit the team well, and after the loss of Marc Gasol the team really struggled before getting back on track with his return and playing the brand of slow grind it out basketball that the team was accustomed to.
Bringing back Lionel Hollins, who was a favorite of the current Grizzlies’ core of Zach Randolph, Gasol and Mike Conley, might be an option. Hollins never wanted to leave the organization, but he was fired. Hollins’ style of coaching suits the Grizzlies very well, and it is what brought the team so much success over recent years. Another coach who could potentially be lured away or traded for is the head coach of the Chicago Bulls Tom Thibodeau. There are rumors currently that the Grizzlies may be ready to make a trade offer for Thibodeau and offer him both coaching and executive power as the Detroit Pistons recently offered Stan Van Gundy to come to the franchise. Thibodeau coaching the Grizzlies would also be effective because he too plays a defensive brand of basketball that the current roster is used to playing.
There are many different directions the Grizzlies can go, both in the executive and coaching departments. The most important thing to all of this will be if the team does decide to make more major changes, these disruptions must be done before the biggest points in the offseason, such as the draft and free agency. The Grizzlies have pieces in place to contend; now it will be time to figure out how these pieces will be used as well as the pieces that need to come into play in order for the team to be ready for a run at an NBA title.