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Grizzlies Also Locking Up GM Chris Wallace

Michael Heisley must really be drinking the kool-aid now, as less than a week after news of the Lionel Hollins extension came through, it now appears that he'll be trying to keep General Manager Chris Wallace around as well.

Wallace is perhaps best known for the now ignominious "Pau Gasol Trade," where opposing Western Conference GM's and coaches railed the Grizzlies for giving up their All-Star player for nothing but salary cap space. Of course Grizzlies fans know that the swap, in reality, essentially traded Pau away for his nearly-as-skilled brother Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph (with the cap space and Darko giveaway), DeMarre Carroll, and another first-rounder this year.

With the core Wallace constructed essentially from scratch (Conley, Mayo, Gay, Randolph, Gasol) all playing well together this season and showing signs of growth, it makes sense that Heisley would keep Chris Wallace around, especially when you consider this gem from Heisley:

"He's someone I work with well. We have great chemistry. I'd like for Chris to stay and I think he'll be with us for a good period of time."

In other words, Chris Wallace listens to me, and doesn't complain to the media when I decide to draft Hasheem Thabeet over Tyreke Evans. That quality alone is probably enough to get Wallace on a pope-length contract.

Of course Wallace now has some serious work to do, since rebuilding to .500 or so is pretty much inevitable and not particularly difficult. The challenge will be in simultaneously strengthening the bench, signing O.J. Mayo, Rudy Gay, and Mike Conley to new contracts in the next couple years, and keeping payroll under the luxury tax.

Even more difficult, however, will be a single decision: If Rudy Gay receives a maximum or near-maximum contract offer this summer, do you match the deal to keep him in Memphis? Heisley brought him here, let's just hope he can keep him for a reasonable price.