Wed, Jun 20, 2007 - Page 18 News List

Grizzlies choose Wallace as new general manager

AFP , MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

Chris Wallace, general manager of the Boston Celtics for the past 10 seasons, was named to the same post with the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies on Monday.

Wallace agreed to replace Jerry West immediately as general manager and vice president of basketball operations. West, a retired Los Angeles Lakers' legend, has served in the role since April of 2002.

"I have the utmost confidence in him and respect for him and know he will lead this franchise to continued success and growth," West said. "He comes to Memphis with terrific credentials and an outstanding work ethic."

West's contract expires on June 30 and he will help Wallace with the transition in the next two weeks.

Wallace was director of player personnel for the Miami Heat before joining the Celtics and also worked as a scout with Portland, Denver, New York and the Los Angeles Clippers.

"The Grizzlies are a team poised to make significant strides in the near future," Wallace said. "Jerry West and his staff have put together a roster of talented offensive players and young, exciting athletes with tremendous upside."

"To have the opportunity to work with Jerry West through the transition process is something that I will treasure and greatly benefit from," he said.

Bringing Wallace into the lineup completes an overhaul of Memphis decision makers. The Grizzlies named former Phoenix Suns assistant Marc Iavaroni as new coach on May 31, a choice Wallace liked.

"His background as a championship player and as an assistant coach working with some of the best coaches in the NBA like Mike D'Antoni and Pat Riley is impressive," Wallace said.

"I also like the fact that Marc has worked for coaches with expertise on both the offensive and defensive sides of the game and that broad experience will pay dividends for the Grizzlies," he said.

The Grizzlies have the fourth selection in next week's NBA Draft.

Wallace's other challenge will be deciding on the future of Spanish center Pau Gasol, who warned that he will seek a trade unless the Grizzlies make major off-season improvements to the lineup.

Gasol, an NBA All-Star last year, missed the first 19 games of last season with a broken foot that he suffered in the World Championships.

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