When the Grizzlies shook up their front office last month, they moved Chris Wallace back in charge of basketball operations.
The first question: Wallace still worked for Memphis?
Yes. Even after the Grizzlies hired Jason Levien as CEO and John Hollinger as Vice President of Basketball Operations, they kept Wallace as general manager – just with severely diminished responsibilities.
Now, they plan to keep him charge for a bit longer.
The Memphis Grizzlies are poised to remove the “interim” tag from general manager Chris Wallace while conducting a search to hire a “GM-in-waiting” who will train under Wallace, multiple sources told ESPN.com.
The team hasn’t formalized his role with a new contract as yet but has begun the process of interviewing candidates to become his right-hand assistant.
The Grizzlies have cast a wide net in looking for a new hire, targeting some young executives on other teams. Memphis asked for permission to speak with Oklahoma City Thunder assistant GM Michael Winger, sources said, but Winger declined the interview because he is happy with the Thunder.
To be clear, Wallace doesn’t have an “interim” label as general manager. He’s been general manager all along. Only his status atop the basketball-operations department was regarded as “interim. But that’s mostly semantics.
On relevant issues, Wallace isn’t at the forefront of the analytics movement. Based on owner Robert Pera’s previous moves, that doesn’t make Wallace a perfect fit.
But Wallace knows how to run a front office and work with people. If the Grizzlies find a good stats-savvy executive who doesn’t over-emphasize numbers, they could get the best of both worlds. Let him learn the trade under Wallace while providing valuable input. Then, ideally, the new hire will have learned skills and be ready to shine on his own in due time.
Wallace will do well enough for now. They key is using his experience to better position the Grizzlies under their next general manager.