Glen Grunwald

Grizzlies Hire Rich Cho, Glen Grunwald

The Grizzlies are adding two former NBA general managers to their front office, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPNRich Cho, a former GM with both the Hornets and Trail Blazers, will now serve as the Grizzlies’ Vice President of Basketball Strategy, while former Knicks and Raptors’ executive Glen Grunwald has been hired as a Senior Advisor. The team officially announced the news earlier this evening.

Woj previously noted that the Grizzlies were still looking for some more experienced basketball executives to work alongside (or perhaps below) Jason Wexler and Zach Kleiman, who were promoted last week to head of basketball operations and VP of basketball operations, respectively.

Accordingly, It’s likely that today’s moves will end the Grizzlies’ front office rebuild that began with the demotion of former head of basketball operations Chris Wallace, given both Cho’s and Grunwald’s basketball acumen.

As noted by Chris Herrington of the Daily Memphian, Cho’s time in Charlotte coincided with Kleiman’s internship with the franchise while he was a law student at Duke University. Interestingly, Kleiman also did a summer internship with the Knicks in 2008 while Grunwald was in New York.

Those two connections, together with Kleiman being quoted in the official release from the team, make it seem likely that he, and not Wexler, may be the executive with whom Cho and Grunweld will primarily work, leaving Wexler to continue dealing with his responsibilities as president of business operations.

Herrington also adds that Grunwald will work remotely from Canada, where he currently (and still will) serves as the President and CEO of Canada Basketball.

And-Ones: Canada, Blatt, HOF, Dixson

Per Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, former Indiana University basketball player and Raptors general manager Glen Grunwald has been named the new president and CEO of Canada Basketball.

A native of Chicago, Grunwald was hired by the Raptors in 1994 as the team’s vice president for legal affairs and assistant general manager under former college teammate Isiah Thomas. Grunwald took over for Thomas in a few years later, eventually orchestrating a trade for Vince Carter that led to three straight playoff berths from 2000 to 2002.

Since that time, Grunwald has been heavily involved in all things Canadian. He obtained Canadian citizenship in 1999, served as the president and CEO of the Toronto Board of Trade, and even spent time as the Athletic Director at McMaster University in Ontario.

“I’m honoured and proud to have this opportunity to work with Canada Basketball,” said Grunwald in a press release announcing his hiring. “This is an exciting time for the sport in our country and I look forward to working with the entire basketball community to continue the tremendous progress the sport has made here at all levels.”

Here are a few more items from around the basketball universe:

  • Former Cavaliers and current Olympiacos head coach David Blatt has called for an end to the dispute between FIBA and the EuroLeague, per Antigoni Zachari of EuroHoops. Saying the conflict is a matter of egos and political designs, Blatt iterated how the two organizations ongoing spat is not good for the sport of basketball.
  • In addition to Shawn Marion, who we highlighted here, Joe Nguyen of The Denver Post also opines that the following players could find their way into the Hall of Fame next year – guards Chauncey Billups, Tim Hardaway, Sidney Moncrief, and Kevin Johnson; and forwards Chris Webber and Ben Wallace.
  • Less than two weeks after working out for the Hawks, undrafted rookie Dikembe Dixson has signed with the Lebanese Basketball League’s Hoops Club, according to Dario Skerletic of Sportando. Dixson, 22, posted career averages of 17.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in his three seasons at UIC.

Southwest Notes: Nowitzki, Casspi, Grunwald

Utilizing Dirk Nowitzki as a sixth man might be the best strategy for the Mavericks during the upcoming season, Eddie Sefko of Dallas Morning News opines. The team seems committed to start rookie guard Luka Doncic, so if Nowitzki also starts, that would thrust Wesley Matthews into a bench role, Sefko notes. Pairing Nowitzki with reserve guard J.J. Barea in pick-and-pop situations might be a more sensible route, Sefko adds.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Omri Casspi‘s offensive skills will provide a different element to the Grizzlies’ rotation than Jarell Martin, the player he essentially replaces, according to Michael Wallace of the team’s website. Casspi, who signed a one-year deal in July, probably won’t play as much as Martin did but Casspi shot 58% from the field and 45.5% from long range for the Warriors last season. His ability to space the floor with his long-range prowess and also cut to the basket will make him an asset, Wallace continues. Martin has more athleticism and defensive versatility than Casspi but never produced as consistently as the Grizzlies had hoped, Wallace adds.
  • Former Raptors GM Glen Grunwald has accepted a consultant’s role with the Grizzlies, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star reports. Grunwald has also held preliminary negotiations with Canada Basketball, the country’s governing body for the sport, concerning its executive director opening, Smith adds. Grunwald left his post as the director of athletics and recreation at Canada’s McMaster University to join the Grizzlies organization.
  • What are the remaining offseason questions for Southwest Division teams? We take a closer look here.

Grizz Eye Grunwald, Dinwiddie For GM-In-Waiting

The Grizzlies have narrowed down their list of candidates for a front office job that could eventually lead to becoming the team’s future general manager, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski. At this point, former Knicks executive Glen Grunwald and current Pacers VP of basketball operations Peter Dinwiddie are considered to be the leading candidates. Both were interviewed for the position last month, and league sources tell Wojnarowski that they are expected to individually meet with team owner Robert Pera soon. Chris Makris – who currently serves as GM of the Grizzlies’ D-League affiliate, the Iowa Energy – is highly regarded within the organization and is also expected to meet with Pera at some point.

Whoever earns the position will be expected to work initially under current GM Chris Wallace, according to sources; however, Wojnarowski adds that the hiring could also ultimately involve a higher-profile decision-making role within the organization.

Western Notes: Pelicans, Parsons, Grunwald

The Thunder lost a valuable weapon Friday with the expiration of a $6.5MM trade exception left over from last year’s sign-and-trade of Kevin Martin to the Wolves. The Thunder had hoped to use the exception to acquire Pau Gasol, and today lost out on the big man, report Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com. Here’s more from out West:

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Lawrence’s Latest: Boozer, ‘Melo, Grizzlies

There’s genuine fear within the Bulls’ front office that owner Jerry Reinsdorf will refuse to use the amnesty provision on Carlos Boozer this summer, passes along Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News. Chicago will have a hard time creating the cap room necessary to pursue marquee names if they don’t find a way to get Boozer off the books. Here’s more from Lawrence:

  • Carmelo Anthony would be interested in teaming up with LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, says Lawrence, but the Lakers are unlikely to have the cap space to bring in both superstars.
  • It sounds as if the Rockets‘ pursuit of ‘Melo is unlikely to result in a success. “The only reason Carmelo will go to Houston to listen (to the Rockets) is because of Kevin McHale,” a source told Lawrence. “If the coach wasn’t a top-50, all-time player or was a lesser-name coach, then ‘Melo wouldn’t even visit there. But he’ll listen because it’s Kevin McHale.
  • The Grizzlies are interested in bringing aboard former Knicks president Glen Grunwald to come in and serve under Chris Wallace for two years before taking over the reins as GM, Lawrence writes. That echoes an earlier report from Ken Berger of CBSSports.com but appears to add an expiration date for Wallace’s time in charge of the front office.
  • One league source told Lawrence that he wasn’t sure if Bruno Caboclo was even worth a second-round selection. The Raptors selected Caboclo with the 20th pick in the draft, and Lawrence writes that it’s virtually impossible to find a GM who agrees with their decision.
  • Utah’s decision to draft Dante Exum isn’t surprising since the the Jazz aren’t sold on Trey Burke as a franchise point guard, reveals Lawrence.
  • Dirk Nowitzki won’t even consider signing with a team other than the Mavs this summer, Lawrence confirms.

Grizzlies Interview Four For GM-In-Waiting Gig

Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace and representatives of owner Robert Pera have interviewed four candidates to become the team’s player personnel director and serve as a GM-in-waiting, reports Ken Berger of CBSSports.comNets assistant GM Bobby Marks, Pacers vice president Peter Dinwiddie, Knicks director of pro personnel Mark Hughes and former Raptors and Knicks GM Glen Grunwald have all had meetings with the club, which envisions one of them eventually replacing Wallace, Berger writes.

There’s been plenty of confusion regarding the future of the Grizzlies front office ever since Pera ousted former CEO Jason Levien and installed Wallace as the interim head of the basketball operations department. A report last week indicated that Wallace would remain as GM for the “foreseeable future.” While that seemed to indicate that Wallace would stay in charge, Wallace retained his GM title even as he was stripped of control of the front office under Levien’s regime. A more recent report hinted that Wallace’s future has yet to be decided, referring to him only as a front-runner to retain control of the front office, though Berger’s dispatch seems to indicate that Wallace will remain in power for at least a while after the team makes its hire.

Grunwald probably has the lengthiest resume of the group, as none of the other candidates have been in charge of a team’s front office. An earlier report indicated that Knicks director of player personnel Mark Warkentien was also a candidate. The team apparently asked for permission to interview Thunder assistant GM Michael Winger, but Winger short-circuited that attempt and let Memphis know he’s not interested.

Atlantic Notes: Woodson, Kidd, Sixers, Knicks

Despite the Knicks having their best year since the 1990s, their coach, Mike Woodson, is on the hot seat, writes ESPN Insider Amin Elhassan [subscription only]. Elhassan goes through five coaches entering the 2013/14 campaign on the hot seat, where their team's success could determine whether they're brought back for the 2014/15 season.

The other four coaches mentioned include Mike D'Antoni of the Lakers, Monty Williams of the Pelicans, Tyrone Corbin of the Jazz, and Randy Wittman of the Wizards

Conversely, when Roderick Boone of Newsday spoke with new Nets coach Jason Kidd, the new face in Brooklyn told him there was "exciting nervousness" as the team entered training camp. It will be the first training camp for Kidd as a head coach and the first training camp he hasn't begun as a player since the summer before he entered the league in 1994.  

Kidd went on to explain to Roderick why he's lucky to start as the coach with the veteran-laden Nets:

"The nice thing about this opportunity with this team is guys being able to sacrifice," Kidd told Boone, "and that's another thing with these guys. Maybe sacrifice a shot or two. Maybe even some of the younger guys will say, 'Yeah, I don't mind not playing the fourth quarter,' and that's sacrifice. It's less minutes and less shots and it gets us a win."

Here's more from around the top-heavy Atlantic division…

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Poll: Did Knicks Err In Hiring New GM?

The Knicks pulled off a surprise this week, removing Glen Grunwald from the GM position and giving that job, as well as the title of team president, to former Madison Square Garden boss Steve Mills. The move inspired a stream of reaction that prompted us to use multiple posts to round it all up, and much of the chatter paints the Knicks in a negative light. Mills is inexperienced in player personnel matters, while Grunwald acquired Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith, helping to construct the roster that this spring gave the Knicks their first division title since 1994, and their first 50-win season since 2000.

Mills seems to possess a superior personal appeal with players, and, as Howard Beck of Bleacher Report wrote today, his connections to the Creative Artists Agency surely endear him to a Knicks franchise that's full of CAA clients. His backers include commissioner David Stern and former Knicks president Donnie Walsh, as Marc Berman of the New York Post points out.

So, would the Knicks have been better off keeping their architect from the past two seasons, or did they make the right move to bring in a new GM? Let us know with your vote, and share more of your thoughts on the changes in New York in the comments.

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Knicks Notes: Carmelo, Mills, Grunwald, Houston

The Knicks surprised the NBA world yesterday when they announced that Steve Mills would be replacing Glen Grunwald as the team's general manager. We've already passed along a few of the reactions to that move, but there are a few more leftovers on the front office shake-up among today's Knicks items. Let's round them up….

  • The Knicks' front office changes are "all to keep Carmelo [Anthony]," a rival executive tells Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. If Carmelo is going to commit long-term to the Knicks next summer, he wants to feel confident that the team can attract a marquee free agent in 2015, when cap space is available, writes Beck. According to that rival exec, Mills likely has a better chance of luring a top free agent than Grunwald, who is soft-spoken and isn't as connected to the players.
  • Tommy Beer of HoopsWorld wonders whether it would be even be in the Knicks' best interests to re-sign Anthony to a max deal in 2014.
  • Agent Rick Kaplan, who represents Marcus Camby, called the Knicks' demotion of Grunwald "absurd" and "cruel," according to Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. "He did everything he was asked to do by his owner, and did it with a smile on his face," Kaplan said. "The only good news is that some lucky team will have Glen fall in its lap and he can finally work for a team that appreciates his enormous talent and class."
  • One "prominent NBA executive" who spoke to Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News agreed with Kaplan, asking rhetorically, "What in the world did Glen Grunwald do to get fired? They gave [Mills] two jobs today and he isn’t qualified for either one of them."
  • Sources tell Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report that Allan Houston is likely being groomed to be the next GM in New York.

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