3:19pm: The hiring is official, the team announced via press release.
9:25am: The Grizzlies have identified the front office addition they’ll make to assist GM Chris Wallace, reaching agreement with former Nets and Sixers GM Ed Stefanski to become the executive vice president of player personnel in Memphis, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The selection is a surprise, since Stefanski wasn’t among the several executives linked to the Grizzlies in the past few months. A report just three days ago indicated the team’s progress toward a hire had stalled.
Memphis had reportedly been looking for someone to serve as a “GM-in-waiting” of sorts who would train under Wallace until he was ready to assume Wallace’s duties as the team’s top basketball executive. Stefanski, already having served as GM for two NBA franchises, probably wouldn’t need much training if the team envisions him as its future front office leader, but he’ll at least start off beneath Wallace on the organizational chart, as Wojnarowski indicates. Grizzlies owner Robert Pera said recently that he might promote Wallace to president of basketball operations.
Pacers vice president of basketball operations Peter Dinwiddie and former Raptors and Knicks GM Glen Grunwald were the leading candidates that Wojnarowski identified two weeks ago. Chris Makris, the GM of the Grizzlies’ D-League affiliate, also appeared to be in the mix, at least to a degree. Memphis reportedly interviewed Dinwiddie, Grunwald, Nets assistant GM Bobby Marks, and Knicks director of pro personnel Mark Hughes. The team made Thunder assistant GM Michael Winger an early target before he turned them down. Knicks director of player personnel Mark Warkentien was also an apparent candidate.
Stefanski most recently worked under Bryan Colangelo in the Raptors front office from 2011-13. Stefanski helped build two NBA Finals teams while serving as Nets director of scouting from 1999 until his appointment as the team’s GM in 2004.