2019 NBA Front Office Shakeup Tracker

Having created a space to track the NBA’s head coaching changes this spring, it only makes sense that we should do the same for the teams shaking up their front offices.

Of course, the front office structure for an NBA franchise generally isn’t as cut-and-dried as a coaching staff. All 30 teams will enter the 2019/20 season employing a head coach and a staff of assistant coaches. But not every team will have an executive with the title of “president of basketball operations” or “executive VP of basketball operations” on its payroll. And while some general managers around the league have decision-making power within their organizations, that certainly doesn’t apply to all of them.

Nonetheless, we’ll do our best to track this spring’s front office changes in the space below, monitoring which executives have decision-making power in each new management group. Some of these searches could extend well into the spring, so be sure to check back each day for the latest updates.

Completed Searches:

Los Angeles Lakers

  • Out: Magic Johnson (story)
  • Hired: No one
  • Following Johnson’s shocking resignation, there was plenty of speculation about which high-level rival executives the Lakers might target to replace him. The answer? Nobody. The Lakers appear content to have general manager Rob Pelinka – with the help of a Rambis or two – run the front office, at least for the 2019 offseason. A report confirmed that the team has no plans to hire a new president of basketball operations to replace Johnson.

Memphis Grizzlies

  • Out: Chris Wallace (story)
  • Promoted: Jason Wexler, team president (story); Zach Kleiman, executive VP of basketball operations (story); Tayshaun Prince, VP of basketball affairs (story)
  • Hired: Rich Cho, vice president of basketball strategy (story); Glen Grunwald, senior advisor (story)
  • The Grizzlies demoted general manager Chris Wallace after the season ended, re-assigning him to their scouting department, and promoted two non-basketball executive to top roles in the front office. By promoting Prince and hiring Cho and Grunwald, the club added a pair of more seasoned basketball executives to their management group, but it still sounds like Wexler will oversee the basketball operations department, with Kleiman taking the lead on day-to-day matters. More hires are expected, but those will likely fill supporting roles.

Minnesota Timberwolves

  • Out: Tom Thibodeau (story)
  • Hired: Gersson Rosas, president of basketball operations (story); Gianluca Pascucci, assistant GM (story); Sachin Gupta, executive VP of basketball operations (story)
  • Having dismissed Thibodeau in January, the Timberwolves finished the 2018/19 season with GM Scott Layden running the show. However, they announced at the end of the regular season that they’d begin searching for a new president of basketball operations to replace Thibodeau. After interviewing several candidates, they ultimately landed on Rosas, a longtime Daryl Morey lieutenant in Houston.
  • Also considered: Chauncey Billups (story), Trajan Langdon (story), Calvin Booth (story), Michael Winger (story)

New Orleans Pelicans

  • Out: Dell Demps (story); Danny Ferry (story)
  • Hired: David Griffin, executive VP of basketball operations (story); Trajan Langdon, general manager (story)
  • The Pelicans fired Demps during the season and finished the season out with Ferry holding the interim GM role. Ferry was considered for the permanent job, but ultimately withdrew from consideration, citing concerns about moving his family to New Orleans full-time. Shortly thereafter, the Pelicans officially hired Griffin to run their basketball operations department. They later hired Langdon, who had interviewed for the top job, as their GM under Griffin.
  • Also considered: Larry Harris (story), Gersson Rosas (story), Tommy Sheppard (story), Danny Ferry (story)

Phoenix Suns

  • Out: Ryan McDonough (story)
  • Promoted: James Jones, permanent GM (story)
  • Hired: Jeff Bower, senior VP of basketball operations (story)
  • Considering McDonough was fired back in October, it may not be fair to consider this an offseason change. But when the regular season ended, it wasn’t clear who would be running the Suns’ front office going forward, after Jones and Trevor Bukstein served as interim co-GMs since McDonough’s ouster. Phoenix answered that question quickly, announcing Jones’ promotion to the permanent GM role. The team also compensated for Jones’ relative lack of management experience by pairing him with a veteran executive in Bower, who figures to play a key role in the front office.

Washington Wizards

  • Out: Ernie Grunfeld (story)
  • Promoted: Tommy Sheppard, general manager (story)
  • Hired: Sashi Brown, chief planning and operations officer (story)
  • The Wizards fired Grunfeld about a week before their season ended and hired a search firm to identify candidates to replace him. Although they conducted a number of interviews for the job, they ultimately chose to elevate an internal candidate, promoting Sheppard to the permanent GM job after he ran it on an interim basis through the draft and free agency. Former NFL executive Brown also joined the front office in a top role.
  • Also considered/rumored: Danny Ferry (story), Troy Weaver (story), Gersson Rosas (hired by Wolves), Tim Connelly (turned down offer), Masai Ujiri (story)
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