The Memphis Grizzlies fired CEO Jason Levien on Monday, a move that comes after a rift had developed between the executive and controlling owner Robert Pera, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The Grizzlies announced they had parted ways with Levien and director of player personnel and basketball development Stu Lash. Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace will assume interim responsibility for the franchise's basketball operations and chief operating officer Jason Wexler will oversee the franchise's business operations.
"Our franchise has made tremendous strides over the last few seasons and we thank Jason for his hard work and dedication and wish him nothing but success in his future endeavors," Pera said in a statement. "Rest assured that we remain as committed as ever to bringing a championship to this great city and we are confident that when the new season begins our fans will be excited about both our roster and the direction of our organization."
The relationship between Levien and Pera began to deteriorate over the past year, but still came as a surprise given that Levien and Lash represented the Grizzlies at the NBA's predraft camp in Chicago last week.
The Grizzlies won a franchise-record 56 games during the 2012-13 season and advanced to the Western Conference finals under coach Lionel Hollins. In a decision led by Levien, the Grizzlies decided not to offer Hollins a new contract after last season, sources said.
Levien replaced Hollins with Grizzlies assistant coach Dave Joerger. The Grizzlies went 50-32 this season and lost in the first round of the playoffs in a seven-game series against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph was suspended by the NBA for the series' deciding game.
Joerger's job security was briefly in question after the Grizzlies started the season 13-17, sources said.
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