Veteran leadership in the front office can do a lot of great things for an organization in terms of building a true title contender as well as establishing a sense of security and trust that the organization may not have had before. The Memphis Grizzlies have certainly undergone changes in the front office over the last few months, as the team has been looking for experienced leaders ready to embrace a permanent role in a growing organization that is looking to put the final touches on a contending roster in the Western Conference. Unfortunately for Memphis, this latest move may not be the permanent one the team needs to build off of.
On Wednesday, the Grizzlies officially announced that Chris Wallace has become the team’s permanent general manager. The team made him the interim general manager in May after all of the other changes that took place, including the sackings of then-CEO Jason Levien and then-assistant GM Stu Lash.
The question is, does this move help the Grizzlies in both the short and long term?
Wallace is an experienced front office manager; there is no doubt about it. Wallace served in the role for the Grizzlies from 2007-12, being in the front office while players Zach Randolph, Mike Conley and Marc Gasol were all acquired. These players are the backbone of the team today and have proven to be franchise cornerstones as capable talents and personalities both on and off the court. All of that sounds good and dandy, but Wallace’s previous failures in the league cannot be ignored either.
Wallace previously held a position in the Boston Celtics‘ front office, getting the job for the 2000-01 season, and was credited with a lot of mess-ups there, including the trade of Joe Johnson to the Phoenix Suns and multiple draft snubs that left the team in a state of perpetual mediocrity for a number of years. Paul Pierce was drafted while Wallace was in the front office, but not even that can make up for the number of times Wallace was considered negligent in terms of trades and draft picks.
It seems as though Wallace has learned from his early failures, but his moves in Boston as well as his early moves in Memphis that sent Pau Gasol away from the team cannot be ignored. Wallace has done both good and bad work, and the Grizzlies cannot be sure if he is going to end up making better decisions for the team than he has done for others in the past. Can Wallace get great talent on the team and build a contender ready to make some noise in the postseason? Absolutely. But long-term trust is something the Grizzlies cannot afford to put in Wallace. The Grizzlies need a more stable and better proven leader than Wallace, so the team should not put all of its eggs in the Wallace basket just yet.