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Grizzlies Coach Lionel Hollins Told Fans to ‘Shut the **** Up’

Oh boy, like the Grizzlies didn’t already have bad enough publicity, now they have to deal with their coach going all Bruce Boudreau on some fans. According to Chris Vernon via CBS Sports, Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins told a group of 17-year-old kids to “shut the **** up” after they made noise questioning his decision to leave center Hasheem Thabeet in the game instead of replacing him with Zach Randolph.

It’s inappropriate for fans to use that sort of language, unacceptable by players, and unheard of for a coach to go off on fans like that. They’re supposed to be the level-headed leaders of a team, masters of public relations. Instead, you have Hollins cussing out some kids. I’m sure they were being jerks but he has to know better than that.

Making matters worse, apparently the fans are hardcore Grizzlies supporters who have six season tickets to Memphis games. Wrong people to mess with, Lionel. As much as everyone would love to unload on people heckling them, sometimes you just can’t. And I’ll also take the opportunity to reiterate a point I’ve made before: just because you’ve bought a ticket doesn’t give you the right to act like a jackass at a game. Normal manners and good behavior is still expected (though I know that’s asking a lot) for some people.

The Grizzlies Have No Use for Scouts

New York Knicks vs. Memphis GrizzliesFrom the people who brought you “We’ll give you Pau Gasol for free” comes the latest story. The Memphis Grizzlies were 24-58 last season, tied for fifth worst in the league. Apparently they decided that meant it was a good time to clean out their entire scouting department:

Last season, the Grizzlies had five full-time amateur scouts. David Booth, Ryan West, Ed Manning, Ray Jones and Marin Sedlacek. This season, the Grizzlies will have no full-time college scouts. Booth, West, Manning, Jones and Selacek are all gone. A couple of them fled the building; a few more were let go. The Grizzlies will use a part-time scout to help them keep on eye on players in Europe. They do not plan to make any hires.

“I prefer a smaller group,” said Chris Wallace, the Grizzlies GM.

I guess they sucked last year with five full-time scouts so they probably figure things can’t get much worse anyway. Even though I think Chris Wallace was trying to spin the news for the media with that comment, there is some merit to the “too many cooks in the kitchen” argument. Yes, the NBA draft is only two rounds but there is the developmental league and plenty of injuries during the regular season, opening up several roster spots. Last time I checked the Spurs and Celtics weren’t dropping members of their basketball development operations. Neither are the Lakers (they just get traded everyone’s best player for nothing). I vote for contraction.

Marc Iavaroni Fired by Grizzlies, Latest to Get the Axe

With the NBA trending towards the “what have you done for me lately” attitude towards coaches, it was only a matter of time before the Memphis Grizzlies fired Marc Iavaroni. And according to TNT’s David Aldridge, who got the T-Mac/Yao story wrong if you believe Yao, the Grizzlies have done just that. Memphis is on a seven-game losing streak and 11-30 on the year. Combined with last season, the team was 33-90 under Iavaroni’s leadership, so based on sheer numbers it’s not a surprise. Still, much like the Reggie Theus firing by Sacramento, what did you expect from the guy?

The Grizzlies have been an awful team, largely because they traded away their franchise player last year to the Lakers. Pau Gasol was good enough to get them to the playoffs, and that was only as a late seed, and probably before the West got as tough as it was last year. The team traded away a veteran shooter like Mike Miller, albeit for O.J. Mayo, leaving them nothing but unproven youngsters. Rudy Gay and Mayo appear to be pretty good, but how can you look at this as anything other than a rebuilding team? What do you want from Iavaroni when most of his players aren’t very good?

Iranian Center Now the Grizzlies’ Haddadi

Deadspin had the story recently that Iranian center Hamed Haddadi would not be able to play in the U.S. unless his club got a license to negotiate with one of our teams. Apparently someone’s jumped through those hoops, because the 23-year-old Iranian has signed to play for the Grizzlies:

Haddadi, 23, led all Olympians in rebounding and blocks during pool play. The 7-2, 254-pound center was a free agent. Several NBA teams were interested in him, but recent media reports in his native country quoted Haddadi saying that he would sign with the Grizzlies.

The Griz wouldn’t release terms of their agreement with Haddadi, but he signed a multiyear deal that is equivalent to that of a mid-first-round draft pick, according to sources.

Mid-first-round pick money? That’s not bad at all. They obviously expect him to produce along the lines of one of the Lopez twins if they’re paying him that type of money. Considering how well Haddadi played against Argentina in the Olympics — a team featuring a handful of NBA players — there’s no reason to think he couldn’t play in the league. And in case you were wondering, Haddadi will become the first Iranian to play in the NBA. What barriers aren’t they crossing these days? Basketball is truly becoming a global game.

Did the T-Wolves Get This One Right?

Two years ago they made the mistake of shipping out Brandon Roy before he had ever played a game for them. They got back Randy Foye. Exactly. So when the Timberwolves took O.J. Mayo with the third pick, as we predicted here at LBS, I wasn’t too surprised. I just really couldn’t figure out what Minnesota’s plan was; they have just a group of players that play the same position, hardly a way to build a team. Well, they at least made a move that makes more sense for the team-building concept, but they might have Minnesota Timberwolves ticket holders holding their collective breath once again. The T-Wolves traded O.J. Mayo along with Antoine Walker, Greg Buckner, and Marco Jaric to the Grizzlies for Kevin Love, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal, and Jason Collins. In essence, the T-Wolves and Grizz swapped draft picks and bad contracts, but Minnesota probably got the best player (not counting Love or Mayo) in Miller.

Like I said, I couldn’t understand why Minnesota drafted Mayo in the first place based on the structure of their team — Randy Foye, Rashad McCants, and Corey Brewer (three of their recent picks) play essentially the same position. Now it makes more sense since they leveraged their position into getting Mike Miller along with Love, whom they may have wanted all along. While I still don’t like the Timberwolves roster, the move makes more sense. As for Memphis, I still don’t like their team, but I think O.J. Mayo will sell more Memphis Grizzlies tickets than Love would have, which given their trade of Pau, is probably all they care about. Both teams may have had top five picks, but I still don’t see either team coming anywhere close to the playoffs.

The team that I think will improve the most from last year to this year will be the Heat. I like Michael Beasley a lot as an offensive player (I’m still suspect on his defense). Adding him plus having Dwyane Wade healthy and playing a full season will mean a lot more wins than last year. Yes, I realize it would be hard not to improve when you only won 15 games last year, but I’m talking an improvement where I see them returning to the playoffs and revitalizing the interest in South Beach. Maybe no longer will Pat Riley say they need to refund the fans buying Miami Heat tickets after their pathetic performances last year. I expect a big turnaround.

Grizzlies Owner Questioning Gasol Deal

I’m really struggling to comprehend why Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley would even make these comments. What happened when his GM approached him for final approval of the Gasol trade? “Hey boss, I got these suckers on the line, I’ve convinced them to send me a former #1 pick and two more 1st rounders, and all those dummies want in exchange is Pau.” “Sounds good to me, let’s make it happen!” Seriously, what I wouldn’t do to hear what really went on behind the scenes for that deal. Anyway, I was meaning to address this since reading it on Tuesday. Check out the comments Grizzlies owner Heisley made to Yahoo! Sports regarding the trade that had Gregg Popovich oh so peeved:

“I don’t know if I got the most value,” Heisley confessed. “Maybe our people should’ve shopped (Gasol) more and maybe we would’ve gotten more, done a better deal. Maybe Chris did call every team in the league. I don’t think he did, but maybe he should’ve…”

“I don’t know if I got the most value,” he said.

Well, maybe, just maybe, GM Chris Wallace knows something we don’t know. Maybe the Lakers will have a poor 2010 season and the Grizzlies will wind up with a top 5 lottery pick and land a superstar. I dunno. I still don’t get that trade on multiple fronts, and neither do most people. Wallace must have been hammered that day. Had to have been. Maybe he decided, “What the eff, I’m in the trading mood today. First person who calls about Pau has themselves a deal.” And credit Kupchak for picking up the phone and being the lucky winner — least he made it happen. As for questions about the deal being fixed, if that were the case, I doubt Heisley would publicly be questioning it. He’d be standing by his GM all the way.

Gregg Popovich Rips Pau Gasol Trade

It was only a matter of time before someone said what everyone was thinking — the Lakers ripped the Grizzlies off. They acquired a premium player like Pau Gasol, who pretty much single-handedly got the Grizzlies into the playoffs a few times, for the likes of nearly nothing. Kwame Brown, Javaris Critenton, Pau’s brother Marc, and a pair of first-round picks isn’t exactly a king’s ransom. About the only thing there worth any value would be the draft picks, but you figure the Lakers are getting Pau so those picks will probably be late first-round, like 25th or so. So when you think about it, what did the Lakers give up? Not a whole lot. And that’s what makes Spurs coach Gregg Popovich so peeved:

“What they did in Memphis is beyond comprehension,” said Popovich. “There should be a trade committee that can scratch all trades that make no sense. I just wish I had been on a trade committee that oversees NBA trades. I’d like to elect myself to that committee. I would have voted no to the L.A. trade.”

I wonder what he has to say about the Shaq trade huh? Guess Pop feels a bit threatened — as well he should. The Spurs might be the defending champions, but now the Lakers provide some serious competition. I’ll still give the nod to San Antonio, but the gap has certainly closed. The playoffs are going to be quite exciting, to say the least.