Report: Grizzlies to keep Chris Wallace while seeking his replacement as general manager

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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.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

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.

2017 NBA playoffs have been historically uncompetitive

AP Photo/Elise Amendola
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The NBA Finals so many wanted to see – Cavaliers-Warriors III – is here.

At least it will be.

Today is the first of six off days before the 2017, which begin June 1 in Oakland.

The lengthy delay is the product of an underwhelming postseason featuring few competitive series and numerous blowouts.

Golden State swept its way through the West, and Cleveland dropped only one game (to the Celtics in the conference finals) while winning the East. There have been only two Game 7s, but considering the magnitude, neither felt that compelling. Blake Griffin‘s injury undercut the Clippers against the Jazz, and Celtics over Wizards felt inevitable with home teams winning each game of the series. Between, there have been several lackluster games and series.

There have been just 74 playoff games this year – the fewest before the Finals since since the NBA instituted a best-of-seven first round in 2003:

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That’s 74 of a possible 98 games – 76%, the lowest since 1999 and seventh-lowest ever.

Even if the Finals go seven games, it will be the fewest games in a postseason since 2007. If the Finals go five or fewer games, it’ll be the shortest postseason in this playoff format.

And it hasn’t just been quantity. The quality of games has been lacking, too.

Though there were more blowouts last year by nearly any measure, the 2017 postseason’s average margin in pre-Finals games (13.5) is fifth-highest all-time and second-highest since 1959 (behind 2016, 14.2).

Combine the two factors, and these are the drabbest playoffs in nearly 50 years. Here’s each postseason plotted by average margin in pre-Finals games and percentage of possible games pre-Finals:

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This probably just confirms what you’ve seen: The 2017 playoffs have been in a rut.

We’re all counting on the Cavaliers and Warriors to salvage this postseason, but considering how deep the hole is, anything less than an epic Finals probably won’t cut it.

Kyrie Irving crosses over Avery Bradley, hits 3-pointer (video)

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Avery Bradley got around one screen then, thanks to Kyrie Irving‘s excellent ball-handling, lunged at another that wasn’t coming as Irving hit a 3-pointer.

LeBron James beautifully pass-fakes, makes layup in transition (video)

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LeBron James is a treasure.

Shaquille O’Neal’s big toe is seriously jacked up (PHOTO)

shaq o'neal
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Remember how we we all freaked out when we saw pictures of LeBron James‘ feet back in 2013?

You probably didn’t want to be reminded that it existed, but it does. Still. And apparently jacked up feet is the consequence of a lifetime of playing professional basketball. Once can only assume it has something to do with tight shoes and constant, hard changes of direction in said tight shoes.

We got yet another vision of what basketball shoes can do to feet on Thursday when TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal showed off his, er, little piggies.

Much to the horror of the Internet in general, it was Shaq’s right big toe that took social media by storm. Mostly because it’s not even close to pointing in the right direction.

I’m going to show you what it looks like. Be forewarned, it might just be NSFL.

Via Twitter:

Oh. Oh … why?

Social media reacted appropriately and proportionately:

Shaq did have issues with that toe during the course of his career, and at one point it was so bad that he had to have surgery to remove bone spurs from the toe in 2002.

That still doesn’t explain why it’s all over your TV and the Internet, but here we are. I am sorry.