Eric Hasseltine Talks about the Memphis Grizzlies, and the Minnesota Timberwolves
Eric Hasseltine, radio voice of the Memphis Grizzlies, joined Jeff Thurn on Tuesday's edition of Overtime.
Hasseltine (@EricHasseltine) hosts his own radio show on ESPN 92.9 in Memphis, and is the voice of the Grizzlies.
Thurn asks Hasseltine why head coach Dave Joerger decided to stay in Memphis instead of leaving home for Minnesota (Staples, MN native):
"I talked to him today about that. He likes the situation here. He like the team, and where they are going. It was a crazy situation that nobody saw coming about a week ago, and thought that this would be in play. So, he went and met with the Timberwolves because that is where he is from, and it's rare in this business that you can somewhere that's close to home and where you can feel comfortable. He decided when it was all said and done, he wanted to be in Memphis, and so, he decided to come back and be apart of the Grizzlies organization. I think going forward that you know a little about, and you don't know what the Timberwolves situation is going to be. One, it's interesting with the Kevin Love situation (can opt out after next season) coming up, and when you know you have your guys signed and your guys that they are going to be there in the long haul, I think it makes it an easier decision to take out that unknown for a coach."
Hasseltine on the Memphis front office after owner Robert Pera fired his CEO and assistant general manager, and almost fired Joerger during the season. (Also, fired Lionel Hollins after making Western Conference Finals in 2013).
Is the criticism fair for Pera after a couple of crazy offseason's where the Grizzlies have made the playoffs the past two years?
"Well, no, it's fair because this was the situation and it was handled quite poorly. Obviously, there was a disconnect with our former CEO Jason Levian and Pera. But I don't think this was planned out this way. I think this came down, and they maybe tried to work out their differences and couldn't so Pera decided to go into a different direction. You know, there's no secrets in our society anymore with Twitter, and Facebook and with all these social media outlets. If the Grizzlies were planning on making a move, this would have known. This came out of nowhere with the firing of Levian, but obviously it was where the owner and his righthand man couldn't get along anymore. In the end, it's the owner who writes the checks and has the final say. So, the changes were made. It wasn't handled well in that it wasn't handled well, but it left a lot of questions and there weren't a lot of answers brought forth to those questions. When you have those situations, you get a lot of speculation as to why things went down the way they did, and to what happened and nobody really knows. Moving forward, you have to be a little bit more cognitive of what is going on in your own organization, and look, it was it is. It's not the first time someone got fired from a front office job. That's what everybody had to talk about with other people and say, hey, this happened and it's not something we've seen before and work on going forward."
If Love leaves, how far does it setback the Timberwolves in the Western Conference?
"Well, the question becomes what do they get in return for him. If they get nothing substantial in return for him, then it's going to set them a great deal back. But if they get a king's ransom for him, which they can, and what Denver did for Carmelo Anthony, who was forcing their hand. They could be pretty good. Look at that New York and Denver trade. It made the Nuggets probably better in the long run because they got more players. Now, they struggled this year because one of those guys in Danilo Gallinari, who was the big piece to that puzzle. That's going to be the key. Minnesota's going to have to look at this and feel if they can't get the deal done with Kevin and he wants to go a different direction, then they have to get the best possible and team's may hold out and say your'e not going to get him, but there's only going to be one team that will able sign him. So, you have a better chance of signing him if you make the deal for him than if not he flat out says he's not re-signing there. Then, you don't give up a king's ransom. If you're a team that's in the mix, like a Houston or a team along those lines that may have a shot at getting him, then you make every effort and say, ok, we're going to give you this, or that and we are going to do everything we can to get him because if we get him in here, we are going to be able to re-sign him and keep him long-term. That's the ultimate goal. So, it's going to be interesting because he's a phenomenal talent. Love has turned into an incredible player and people forget the Grizzlies actually drafting Love, and trading him for O.J. Mayo because they needed a bigger name and perimeter scorer at time and just made a deal to get Zach Randolph. That changed around, and it doesn't mean there's a perfect deal or ends up being the exact right deal for Kevin. Kevin has turned out to be an incredible player. This is a guy they think can change a franchise without question and really make a difference in a future of team and will be a big decision for the Timberwolves front office to make sure it doesn't get screwed up. I think they believe in their guys enough to say, ok, we will do this and do it the right way, we can build for the future very, very quickly. I'm thinking, Jeff, you got to get two, three first round draft picks and players that can play and rebuild right away. If not, you are selling yourself short and the problem is the longer you go, the more leverage other teams have."
Also, check out Sam Tastad's article on ESPN 99.1, as he recaps the last week and Joerger's decision to stay in Memphis.
To catch more of Boselli's interview with Thurn, listen below:
*For comments, and story ideas, email Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter @samtastad.