Jason Levien became the Memphis Grizzlies CEO when owner Robert Pera bought the franchise in 2012.
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
The Memphis Grizzlies’ front office is facing a potential full-scale restructure following the departure of CEO Jason Levien and assistant general manager Stu Lash, both of whom left the team on Monday, according to a team release.
"Our franchise has made tremendous strides over the last few seasons and we thank Jason for his hard work and dedication and wish him nothing but success in his future endeavors," Grizzlies owner Robert Pera said. "Rest assured that we remain as committed as ever to bringing a championship to this great city and we are confident that when the new season begins our fans will be excited about both our roster and the direction of our organization."
Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace will assume the franchise’s basketball operations responsibilities on an interim basis.
The organizational shakeup apparently comes from a deteriorating relationship between Levien and Pera, who took over the franchise in June 2012. Levien, an attorney and co-owner of MLS franchise D.C. United, helped broker the deal that brought Pera to Memphis.
The news comes on the heels of the Grizzlies overcoming regular season injuries to claim the Western Conference’s No. 7 seed in the NBA Playoffs, forcing the Oklahoma City Thunder to seven games.
The changes also leave first-year coach Dave Joerger’s future in an uncertain position. Though the Grizzlies won 50 games in Joerger’s rookie season on the bench, the organization did fire coach Lionel Hollins last offseason despite leading the team to the Western Conference Finals. Executive vice president of basketball operations John Hollinger, whom the franchise hired away from a writing career with ESPN, also faces a great deal of uncertainty under the new regime. Both men were hand-picked by Levien, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein.
With the news out, standout guard and fan favorite Tony Allen only had one response on Twitter: