Grizzlies Notes: Cho, Valanciunas, Anderson, Assistants

After being let go by Charlotte in 2018, former Hornets GM Rich Cho had been consulting work for the Grizzlies, so it made sense that new Memphis executive VP of basketball operations and former Hornets intern Zach Kleiman contacted him right away last week when a permanent, high-level position opened up in the team’s front office.

“Yeah, he reached out to me pretty quickly,” Cho said, per Peter Edmiston of The Athletic. “Zach did a really good job for us in Charlotte as an intern, he’s a really bright guy and he’s passionate about the game. He’s an extremely hard worker. I’ve watched his career progress from afar and I’m really happy the way things have gone for him, especially that he’s getting this opportunity.”

As for his new role in Memphis, Cho said that he’ll be overseeing the team’s analytics department and all of the salary cap administration. He’ll also be advising the rest of the management group on player personnel issues and acquisitions, as Edminston details. Kleiman will be running the show for the Grizzlies, so Cho is ready to do what he can to assist the 30-year-old executive.

“On a 30,000-foot level, I’ll be helping Zach out wherever he needs help, and advising him accordingly,” Cho said. “As the GM, he’s going to have to wear a lot of hats and be involved in everything, and I’m going to try to help him out wherever I can.”

Here’s more on the Grizzlies:

  • Of players who appeared in at least 10 games in March, Jonas Valanciunas has the league’s 16th-highest usage rate, and averaged 10 more minutes per game than he had been playing in Toronto, writes David Cobb of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. As Cobb notes, Valanciunas was very happy with his increased role in Memphis, which could have an impact on his contract decision this summer — the big man has until June 13 to decide whether or not to pick up a $17.62MM player option.
  • As expected, Grizzlies forward Kyle Anderson underwent thoracic outlet decompression surgery on his injured right shoulder on Wednesday, the team announced in a press release. According to the Grizzlies, Anderson is expected to make a full recovery and resume full basketball activities before the club opens camp in the fall.
  • The Grizzlies have now lost a pair of assistant coaches to Vanderbilt. After leaving Memphis to become Vanderbilt’s new head coach, Jerry Stackhouse has brought fellow assistant Adam Mazarei to his staff, the school confirmed today in a press release. Grizzlies assistant Chad Forcier also announced earlier this week that he’s moving on, as J.B. Bickerstaff‘s staff disperses in various directions in advance of a new coach being hired.
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