NBA Roundtable

Heisley On Grizzlies Moves

In General NBA on October 1, 2009 at 5:05 pm

A quote from Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley

“I know I’m going to be held a lot more accountable,” Heisley told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “I don’t want to downgrade (general manager) Chris Wallace or (coach) Lionel (Hollins). Allen Iverson is here because of me and Zach Randolph is here because of me. O.J. Mayo is here because of me and Chris because I don’t think that was what the majority of people in the room were talking about doing (in 2008). I’m the guy who is going to take the heat on (No. 2 overall pick) Hasheem Thabeet. I don’t have any problem with that. The reality is if we start winning then people will be happy.”

Interference — any time an owner has this much input he’s interfering with his GM’s ability to do his job properly.

Any and all Grizzlies fans should be flat out frightened by Heisley’s words + actions.

The Article

The above quote came from a season preview article on Sporting News’ The Baseline … there was also another quote that relates to the topic on hand too:

View from the other bench
(an opponent breaks down the Grizzlies)

“One of these seasons the Grizzlies are going to have to really make up their minds and stick with whatever plan they choose. Since Jerry West left (as team president), it appears that this franchise is always going in many different directions.

“They have talent and they have players, but they won’t get better until one person is calling all the shots and they stick with a plan.”

The Grizzlies are a lost team … a directionless squad.

Michael Heisley is the biggest reason why.

  1. If he sells tickets with these moves, he made the right ones!

    If not, maybe the NBA can’t be saved here anyway?

    Desperate times call for desperate measures. Or if you don’t survive this season, the fact you might be ruining a team 5 years from now won’t matter much?

  2. Hey Brothersteve,

    “They’ll like us when we win!”

    In sports Winning = Money … star names and/or active community involvement … they’re nice but … nothing can boost a club’s profits more than putting a winning club on the floor.

    The Grizzlies are in a city where they have little to no emotional connection with their fans due to their lack of history + lack of winning in the past. Their only hope of surviving their long term is by developing a true winning basketball team that makes the playoffs consistently over a period of time, and at some point has a shot at contending for a title. Anything they do to risk that vision is a massive financial risk … and that’s exactly what Memphis is doing right now, by aborting their long term plans for a short term circus show with Zach Randolph and Allen Iverson.

    Michael Heisley is being penny wise, but pound foolish.

    Bad sports decision + bad financial decision.

    Primary Issue

    The above, however, is only the secondary issue here as far I’m concerned. What bothers me most is not the moves but how they’re coming about (the process).

    Heisley owns the team … if he wants to be the GM and run the basketball side of things, then fine, do it. Name yourself the GM and run the team full time. Give it a go and see how you do.

    But do not hire someone else (Wallace) and then interfere with the process … if you hire someone you have to give that person the resources (authority, finances, time) to do the job … you can’t just stick your nose in every 6-12 months and change the entire direction of the franchise and be successful in the long term.

    There is a massive leadership vacuum in Memphis due to Heisley’s actions. They’re a rudderless ship.

    Side Note — My ideal owner was the late Bill Davidson. I loved how he ran the Pistons.

  3. Dave,

    Rather than being described as a “rudderless” ship … it would seem to be the case that what the Grizzlies have is,

    “a Captain who wants to be the rudder, hoist the sails, swab the deck, fire the canons and row the oars, etc., all at the same time.”

    Most often, what happens in a situation like this?

    That Captain ends up “walking the plank”, while his ship eventually sinks to the bottom of the sea.

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