Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Deflections: Levien's Money Quote, Draft Workouts, Hollins' Future

Posted By on Wed, Jun 12, 2013 at 10:03 AM

Jason Levien
Levien Speaks: Soon after I posted yesterday, writing in part that Grizzlies' CEO Jason Levien needed to more fully and directly explain the decision to part ways with Lionel Hollins, Levien took to local airwaves via two afternoon radio programs to do just that. (Note: I'm not actually taking credit for something that was going to happen anyway.)

Levien first spoke with team play-by-play man Eric Hasseltine on 92.9/730 ESPN Radio. He followed with team sideline reporter Rob Fischer and Fischer's co-host Brett Norsworthy on Sports 56 WHBQ. You can listen to the interviews yourself, but if you don't want to wade through the boilerplate, here's the money quote, taken from the Hasseltine interview but repeated in close to the same language on Sports 56:

“We want to have the kind of organization where we get people in a room who are prepared, who have opinions, who are going to disagree about what we should do and what the personnel moves should be. I want that disagreement. We want to really dig in and get messy when we're in that room talking about what the decision and direction should be. And then once we come to a decision, whatever that personnel decision is, we want to walk out of the room arm-in-arm, locked together in how we're going to proceed. And we're going to face the public that way together. And we're going to go out and face our adversaries that way together. We believe that getting the right head coach in here, working with our personnel folks. Working with our organization, we're going to have great success.”

Additionally, on Hasseltine, Levien shot down the notion that the coaching decision was driven by financial considerations and said a final decision on a new coach would come “sooner rather than later.”

On “Fish & Stats,” Levien said he had not made a decision on Hollins at the time the season ended and that it was possible for events in the interim to change his decision. Levien said that he did not underestimate the amount of criticism the decision would bring and referred to “the public record” of critical comments from Hollins as a factor in the decision.

The Rest of the Story: While all this controversy has engulfed Levien, Hollins, and probable next head coach Dave Joerger, what's been going on with the rest of the brain trust? John Hollinger has been scouting in Europe. Stu Lash has been conducting draft workouts alongside various assistant coaches. And Chris Wallace is back from a California trip where he was interviewing for the open GM job in Sacramento.

Draft Workouts: The team will hold its fourth draft workout this morning, with Louisville guard Peyton Siva as the featured attraction. Media are no longer allowed to watch workouts, so I haven't been covering the way I used to. But have been compiling info for some form of a draft preview in the next couple of weeks. The Grizzlies have picks at #41, #55, and #60. For the record, here is everyone the team has had in through four workouts, ranked in the order they appear on ESPN.com's “Top 100” prospects list:

#29 — Ricky Ledo
#36 — Tony Snell
#39 — Archie Goodwin
#46 — Colton Iverson
#47 — B.J. Young
#54 — James Southerland
#62 — Carrick Felix
#68 — Brandon Paul
#71 — DeWayne Dedmon
#73 — Robert Covington
#74 — Peyton Siva
#75 — Will Clyburn
#77 — Soloman Hill
Others: Jud Dillard, Angelo Sharpless, Gregory Echenique, Murphy Holloway, Christian Watford, Jordan Aboundou, Julian Gamble, Murphy Holloway, Jason Jones, Romero Osby

Hollins in Los Angeles: ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports this morning via Twitter that Lionel Hollins is interviewing with the Clippers today and is firmly in the mix for that job, along with Brian Shaw and Byron Scott. (Interesting that George Karl hasn't emerged more forcefully there since being let go by Denver.) Meanwhile, the Nets seemed to have moved on from their initial interest in Hollins, focusing now on Shaw and surprise candidate Jason Kidd. If the Clippers job doesn't come through, Hollins only remaining realistic options appears to be in Denver, though there have been rumblings about the Celtics' job potentially coming open.

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