There will be rumors abounding about what Jason Levien did behind the scenes to upset Robert Pera so much.
it is likely the fans will never get the full story or at least never understand the full reason Pera and Levien, such close friends during the early stages of their partnership. would fall so far apart after their second season.
What the fans can know right now is what Jason Levien actually did while he acted as CEO of the Grizzlies from November 1, 2012 until May 19, 2014.
Here is a timeline of the player moves that Levien orchestrated while in charge of the Memphis Grizzlies:
Roster Moves During Jason Levien’s Tenure
January 22 – Acquired Jon Leuer from Cleveland for Marresse Speights, Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby and a future 1st round pick
January 23 – Signed Chris Johnson to a 10 day contract (waived February 20))
January 30 – Acquired Tayshaun Prince, Ed Davis, Austin Daye and a 2013 2nd round pick for Rudy Gay
February 21 – Acquired Dexter Pittman from Miami and a 2nd round pick for rights to Ricky Sanchez and a trade exception (waived April 14)
April 3 – Signed Keyon Dooling
April 17 – Signed Donte’ Green
June 12 – Informs Lionel Hollins he won’t be extended a new contract
June 27 – Drafted Jamaal Franklin (41st pick)
Acquired Kosta Koufas from Denver for Darrell Arthur
July 14 – Resigned Tony Allen to extension
July 22 – Acquired rights to Nick Calathes from Dallas for removal of protection on future 2nd round pick (signed August 20)
July 24 – Signed Josh Akognon off waivers from Dallas (waived October 6)
July 30 – Signed Mike Miller
August 15 – Acquired Fab Melo and cash considerations from Boston for Donte’ Green
August 22 – Acquired a 2nd round 2014 draft pick and a trade exception for Tony Wroten
September 29 – Signed Derrick Byars (waived October 6), Melvin Ely (waived October 26) and Tony Gaffney (waived October 26) to training camp invites
October 10 – Signed Andre Barrett to a training camp invite (waived October 24)
December 16 – Signed James Johnson from D-League
December 24 – Signed Seth Curry to 10 day contract from D-League (waived January 5)
January 7 – Acquired Courtney Lee from Boston for Jerryd Bayless
February 3 – Signed Darrius Morris to 10 day contract (released February 13)
February 27 –Claimed Beno Udrih off of waivers from N Y Knicks
One thing you can’t say is that Levien wasn’t busy. He took over a team consisting of the following players:
Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, Tony Allen, Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, Marresse Speights, Darrell Arthur, Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby, Hamed Haddadi, Tony Wroten, Jerryd Bayless and Quincy Pondexter. Approximately 18 months later the only players still on the team are Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and Quincy Pondexter.
To use the vernacular of Tony Allen, WOW!
Activity wasn’t a problem under Levien.
Relationships with the fans wasn’t a problem either. Sure Levien was no Chris Wallace, the affable and open former team frontman who is back in power now but with a contract that expires in around 6 weeks. Then again he wasn’t as distant as Jerry West either. He didn’t sit in his personal suite, sipping white wine and refusing to mingle with the people after all. He sat with the fans, near the court and would talk to anyone who came up to him. He was if nothing else the visible face of the front office.
So what went wrong? In my personal opinion this was an example of two strong-willed ‘Alpha’ males being unable to share power. That is disturbing considering Robert Pera doesn’t act like he wants to be the top dog in any meaningful way but that topic is for another day.