2:29pm: The Grizzlies announced via press release that “following discussions with management, the decision was made for” Levien and Lash to “depart the organization.” GM Chris Wallace, who saw his authority neutralized under Levien’s regime, will “assume interim responsibility” for the team’s basketball operations.
“Our franchise has made tremendous strides over the last few seasons and we thank Jason for his hard work and dedication and wish him nothing but success in his future endeavors,” said Grizzlies owner Robert Pera. “Rest assured that we remain as committed as ever to bringing a championship to this great city and we are confident that when the new season begins our fans will be excited about both our roster and the direction of our organization.”
1:40pm: Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien is poised to resign after assistant GM Stu Lash was dismissed, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Meanwhile, the futures of coach Dave Joerger and executive vice president John Hollinger are uncertain after a clash between owner Robert Pera and current management (link).
Levien, a former agent and 76ers minority owner, was named CEO in November 2012. Levien hired Lash and Hollinger, a former Nets beat writer and ESPN scribe, to high-ranking front office roles shortly after taking the reigns in Memphis.
Tensions are high in Memphis after the Grizzlies won 50 games and pushed the Thunder to a seven-game series but ultimately lost. There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Grizzlies’ roster this summer as well, as Zach Randolph has a player option worth $16.9MM. For the star forward, that number would signify a pay cut from the $18.2MM he earned last season.
The Grizzlies figure to have lots of flexibility even if Randolph exercises his option, as Chuck Myron wrote earlier this month. What isn’t clear is who will be allocating those dollars.