David Mincberg

Western Rumors: Clippers, Hill, Mincberg, Pera

Clippers co-owner Shelly Sterling met Sunday with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who was part of a bid to move the Kings to Seattle last year, writes Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com, seconding an earlier report from TMZ Sports. Still, Sterling wouldn’t consider selling the team to anyone who would move it from Los Angeles, according to Shelburne, and the league has given no indication it will allow Sterling to facilitate the sale of the team, as her husband, banned owner Donald Sterling, would like. Shelburne has more on the Clippers, which we’ll pass along amid our look at the latest around the West:

  • People within the league regard Grant Hill’s bid to buy the Clippers as a viable one, according to Shelburne. Hill’s consortium includes Antony Ressler, who’s reportedly a longtime friend of Donald Sterling.
  • The Grizzlies have said that David Mincberg is only a scout and will have no significant front office role from now on, according to TNT’s David Aldridge. Mincberg, whom the team lists on its website as its director of scouting, reportedly had a growing influence over the team’s basketball decisions and has been at odds with coach Dave Joerger.
  • Grizzlies owner Robert Pera took to Twitter to deny the assertions in an earlier report from Chris Mannix of SI.com in which Pera is said to have demanded more playing time for soon-to-be free agent Ed Davis, among other, more unusual suggestions.

Grizzlies OK Wolves To Interview Dave Joerger

1:45pm: The Grizzlies will probably seek compensation if the Wolves decide to hire Joerger, but it wouldn’t be a first-round draft pick, Zgoda tweets, and Memphis isn’t looking to stand in the way, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

12:59pm: The Timberwolves spoke with Izzo last night, but there’s no chance now that he’ll take the Minnesota job, according to Dan Barreiro of KFAN (Twitter link; hat tip to Zgoda).

12:53pm: The Wolves made their request for permission to speak with Joerger prior to this week’s front office chaos in Memphis, though it’s unclear if the Grizzlies gave Minnesota the green light before the turmoil began, reports Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter links). Joerger is set to interview with the Wolves on Thursday, Amick adds.

12:19pm: Joerger is scheduled to interview with the Wolves within the next 24 hours, Wojnarowski tweets.

11:23am: It appears Joerger is at odds with Grizzlies scouting director David Mincberg, as they share mutual “hate,” tweets Geoff Calkins of The Commercial Appeal.

10:27am: Joerger appears to be the favorite at this point, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link), and his affection for the state of Minnesota runs deep, Stein tweets.

9:59am: The Grizzlies have granted the Wolves permission to interview coach Dave Joerger for their coaching vacancy, reports Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. Joerger is eager to leave Memphis and Grizzlies ownership wants him out, too, but neither side wants to vacate his multiyear contract, according to Zgoda. Joerger has two years left on a three-year deal with Memphis that’s worth approximately $6MM. Joerger apparently received assurances from the attorney for Grizzlies owner Robert Pera that he would remain as coach of the team in the wake of the front office turmoil in Memphis, but it seems there’s mutual interest in a parting of ways. Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders has a longstanding relationship with Joerger, who grew up in Minnesota, and the interview will probably take place later this week, Zgoda hears.

Joerger just finished his first season as Grizzlies coach, overcoming concerns about his readiness for the job early in the season and an injury to Marc Gasol to complete a late run at 50 wins. Memphis pushed the Thunder to seven games in the opening round of the playoffs, but the success masked turmoil within the organization that’s come to light this week.

Marc Stein of ESPN.com first suggested earlier this week that Joerger would become a coaching candidate for the Wolves if the Grizzlies let him go.  The club had reportedly been waiting on Tuesday’s draft lottery for clarity, and with the No. 13 picked locked in, it seems Saunders and company are ready to move forward. The same weekend report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports that noted openness toward trading Kevin Love identified Sam Mitchell as a coaching candidate. Saunders interviewed Lionel Hollins several weeks ago, and though a report two weeks ago indicated that the team was waiting on an answer from Michigan State coach Tom Izzo before proceeding, the team isn’t holding back from looking at others.

Grizzlies Notes: Joerger, Wallace, Hollinger

Jason Levien is no longer CEO of the Grizzlies, but he does retain a small minority ownership share of the team, as Geoff Calkins of the Memphis Commercial Appeal notes via Twitter. It’s just one piece of an odd-looking puzzle in the wake of the Grizzlies’ announcement Monday that Levien and assistant GM Stu Lash are no longer at the controls. Calkins gives a fuller picture in a pair of subscription only pieces, pointing out that owner Robert Pera only let one of the Grizzlies’ multitude of minority owners, other than Levien, know about the shakeup ahead of time. Joe Nicosia and Pitt Hyde, speaking for a group of Memphis-based minority owners, issued a press release minutes ago.

We would like to thank Jason for his contributions to Memphis and wish him well in his future endeavors,” the statement reads. “We fully support Robert in his building of a world-class organization and look forward to continuing to work in concert to achieve our ultimate goal of bringing a championship parade down Beale Street.  We are confident that as the 2014/15 season draws near, all of Grizz Nation will share in our excitement regarding the future of this organization.”

Here’s more from Calkins’ pieces:

  • Coach Dave Joerger hasn’t met with Pera, but he did meet with Pera’s attorney, Joe Abadi, who assured him that he’ll remain as coach, according to Calkins.
  • The last time GM Chris Wallace set foot in the Grizzlies offices was last summer, as he tells Calkins. Wallace had been marginalized under Levien’s regime.
  • Wallace is fully confident that vice president of basketball operations John Hollinger will stay with the organization after speaking with him, as Wallace tells Calkins, and the organization would like to retain the former ESPN.com writer, Calkins adds. Still, Calkins casts doubt on Hollinger’s willingness to stick around.
  • Neither Levien, Lash or Joerger saw Monday’s developments coming, Calkins hears.
  • Calkins’ sources are split on whether Levien’s rancorous history as part of the Sixers and Kings organizations repeated itself in Memphis, leading Pera to oust him.
  • Levien’s supporters allege that David Mincberg, whom Levien hired as a protege of sorts, helped force Levien out, Calkins reports.

Lowe’s Latest: Bucks, Knicks, Grizzlies, Pelicans

Grantland’s Zach Lowe looks at instability in the executive suite, profiling the NBA’s six most volatile front offices in the wake of yesterday’s shakeup in Memphis. As usual, Lowe’s work is required reading, but we’ll hit some highlights here:

  • Bucks owners Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens have held preliminary talks about potential replacements for GM John Hammond and assistant GM David Morway, but the more likely outcome appears to be that they stay for at least one more year, Lowe writes.
  • Former Raptors and Suns GM Bryan Colangelo is open to once more becoming an NBA GM, Lowe hears, but that’s no surprise, given that he was reportedly a candidate for the Cavs and Pistons front office searches. Lowe mentions him within his look at the Bucks, which is coincidental given an earlier report that linked him to an ownership group looking to buy the franchise when it was for sale. Still, it doesn’t appear as though there’s any particular link between the Bucks and Colangelo at this point.
  • The Knicks will likely hire someone within the next year to replace Steve Mills as general manager and shunt Mills off into some other role with the organization, according to Lowe.
  • Some high-level executives on teams around the league hadn’t heard about Grizzlies attorney David Mincberg, who’s reportedly assumed some power in the basketball operations department, Lowe hears.
  • The job of Memphis GM Chris Wallace, whom the team has restored to a prominent role after the departures of CEO Jason Levien and assistant GM Stu Lash, is safe “until he wants to leave,” Lowe writes.
  • There have been few reports alleging that GM Dell Demps is on shaky ground to return next year, but people around the league have been curious about whether the team would bring him back for 2014/15, according to Lowe. There have been disagreements between Demps and coach Monty Williams, and the team’s owners favor Williams, Lowe hears. In any case, he’ll probably return, though there will be pressure on him for the team to improve and perhaps make the playoffs next season, Lowe writes.
  • Louisiana native Joe Dumars is close to executives with the New Orleans Saints, the NFL franchise that Pelicans owner Tom Benson also owns. That would make him a likely candidate for Pelicans GM job should the team decide to oust Demps, Lowe asserts.
  • Pistons coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy says that the team’s ownership will have just as much say as he does in whom they hire as GM, as he tells Lowe.

Latest On Grizzlies Turmoil

Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien and assistant GM Stu Lash parted ways with Memphis earlier today, and the potential exists for the shakeup to extend even further. Here’s the latest:

  • Chris Mannix of SI.com tweets that the turmoil in Memphis is surprising everyone around the league. Levien represented the Grizzlies in GM meetings as recently as a week ago.
  • Grizzlies owner Robert Pera has been operating in an abnormally hands-on manner for an owner of late, a person with knowledge of the situation tells Sam Amick of USA Today. Pera conducted his own end-of-season player interviews independent of the Memphis front office and coaching staff, per Amick.
  • Amick adds that the ouster of Levien and Lash were tied to the increased influence of Grizzlies lead attorney David Mincberg, who has been granted involvement in duties normally reserved for front office personnel.
  • Levien and Pera have been at odds for over a year, a source tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link).
  • Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com insinuated in a tweet that former Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins could be a candidate to return to the Memphis bench just a season removed from being fired.