Report: Grizzlies to interview Lithuanian coach Sarunas Jasikevicius

AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic
2 Comments

The Grizzlies revamped their front office, demoting Chris Wallace, promoting Jason Wexler to President and Zach Kleiman to Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations and hiring former NBA general managers Rich Cho and Glen Grunwald.

We’re getting clues about how that new structure will operate.

Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

The Memphis Grizzlies are interested in one of the EuroLeague’s rising coaching stars, Lithuania’s Sarunas Jasikevicius, and plan to meet with him soon, league sources told ESPN.

The Grizzlies coaching search, which Executive VP of Basketball Operations Zach Kleiman is running, is still largely in the early stages, league sources said.

Good for Kleiman looking outside the box. They don’t have to hire Jasikevicius, but by considering a wider pool of candidates, the Grizzlies give themselves the best chance of finding a good coach.

Jasikevicius – who played for Lithuania in the Olympics then the Pacers and Warriors – has impressed coaching Zalgiris. The Raptors interviewed him last year.

It didn’t make sense for a title contender to take a chance on such an unproven coach, but it could work better in Memphis. The Grizzlies have – or at least should have – much lower immediate expectations.

But Jasikevicius is only 3.5 seasons into his head-coaching career. After a strong start under him, Zalgiris stumbled this season. There’s still plenty to learn about his coaching acumen.

Memphis is smartly doing just that.