Q&A with Chris Wallace about coaching changes

Memphis Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace sat down with Grizzlies.com to discuss coaching changes announced on May 7, 2016. Here's what he had to say:

Why did you make this decision to let Dave go?

The decision was made because I believe you need a deeply committed leadership team in order to establish the strong culture needed for sustainable long-term success. 

I don’t want to get into specifics, but our goal now is to identify the best candidate for our organization.  

Who made this decision?  Was Robert Pera involved?

This was my decision. I explained my decision to Robert, just as any GM would to their owner, and he was supportive.

This was not an easy decision for me and as we all know often the right decision isn’t the easy one.  But with that said, I am confident that change was necessary to grow the type of culture that is needed for sustained success.

Does this decision have anything to do with Dave’s coaching?

The decision was not about Dave’s in-game coaching.  Dave did an admirable job managing games.  However, being an NBA head coach is about more than just coaching a 48 minute game.

Fans may be concerned that this decision may jeopardize the success the team has had in recent years. Can you address that?

I feel we would be jeopardizing our success if we didn’t put ourselves in the best possible position to operate for the long-haul as a top-tier organization.  I am fully confident that this decision will keep us on course. 

After this move, perception may be that the team lacks stability. How would you respond to that?  Will that perception hurt you in free agency?

This decision is about ensuring stability for years to come. 
We are a stable and unified organization and one of only three teams to have made the playoffs for six straight years. We’re planning for sustained success and will find a coach that shares our long-term outlook.

Regarding your second question, our core players have re-signed with this organization time-after-time. We have had success attracting other talent like Brandan (Wright) and Vince (Carter) and we will continue to build on this success. 

It’s been reported that there has been tension between the front office and coaching staff, in particular, Dave. To what extent is this decision motivated by that or any personal issue between you and Dave?  Why couldn’t the front office and Dave get along? 

Nothing about this decision was personal.  Neither I, nor anyone in our front office has anything against Dave as a person.  This decision is solely about what I believe is best for the organization. We wish him and his family the very best in the future. 

What about the fact that it felt and looked like the team didn’t give up on Dave down the stretch this season?  Were you not swayed by how hard the team played?

We have an established locker room of veterans who play hard and leave it all out on the floor, no matter what.  It’s the heart and soul of Grit ‘N Grind culture.

Was this decision about player development?  To what extent was this decision motivated by Dave’s player rotations and playing time? 

No. This had nothing to do with player development, playing time or X’s and O’s. 

When did the relationship with Dave become fractured?

As I said before, this decision was not personal.  It’s about what I believe best positions us to compete for an NBA Championship, based on my 30 years of NBA experience.

Was Dave ever promised personnel input that he didn’t get? Was his voice and opinion heard in personnel decisions?

We actively sought Dave’s input and thoughts on player personnel decisions, including all drafts, trades and free agency.  And frankly, decisions in recent years were made with Dave’s close involvement.

Questions regarding roster makeup and how that affected on-court performance arose early this season. If the roster makeup was different, i.e. more shooters, would Dave have achieved greater success and still be the head coach?

This decision has nothing to do with our roster. 

Listen, it’s no secret that we need shooters.  We have been and will keep working tirelessly to build a championship caliber roster. This decision is simply about long-term commitment and building for the future.

How does this decision impact the assistant coaches?

I am going to meet with each of our assistants as we progress in the very near future.

When does the search begin for a new head coach?  Anyone particular you’re targeting?

Our search will begin immediately.  I won’t go into any specifics, other than to say we will work tirelessly to find a head coach who brings energy and commitment to this organization. 

How quickly do you want to have a new coach in place?

I don’t have a set timeframe, but our process will be thoughtful and comprehensive. 

How does this decision affect free agency and the draft?

It doesn’t. This decision has nothing to do with either. 

How do you define Dave’s legacy with the organization?

Dave played an important role with us for nine years.  He helped establish us as a perennial playoff team and that will never be forgotten. 

We sincerely thank him for everything that he has done for the organization and wish him and his family all the best.