MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -Marc Iavaroni was hired as coach of the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday after a season that left the team with the worst record in the NBA.
Iavaroni, a 17-year NBA veteran as player or assistant coach, is regarded as one of the league's top assistants. He spent the past five seasons with the Phoenix Suns.
Tony Barone, the Grizzlies' former director of player personnel, was appointed interim coach last season when Memphis fired Mike Fratello with the team at 6-24. The Grizzlies finished at 22-60 following three straight trips to the NCAA playoffs.
``Mark is going to make an immediate impact on this organization, team and city, and we are honored that he will be making his NBA head coaching debut with Memphis,'' Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley said in a statement released before a news conference to introduce Iavaroni.
The franchise is also looking for a general manager to replace team president Jerry West, who is leaving after next month's draft when the Grizzlies will pick fourth.
The Grizzlies have refused to comment on reports that David Griffin, the Suns' vice president of basketball operations, is a potential candidate for that job.
With the Suns, Iavaroni was a lead assistant under coach Mike D'Antoni. He was an assistant under Pat Riley at Miami from 1999-02 and an assistant under Fratello at Cleveland from 1997-99. Iavaroni played in the NBA from 1982 to 1989 with Philadelphia, San Antonio and Utah.
The season began with All-Star Pau Gasol on the sidelines for the first 22 games because of a broken left foot. Rookie Kyle Lowry, one of the team's most promising young players, broke his left wrist and missed 71 games.
For several months during the season, talk about the pending sale of the franchise raised doubts about the team's future. The proposed sale to a group led by former Duke teammates Brian Davis and Christian Laettner ultimately fell through, and majority owner Michael Heisley said he was taking the Grizzlies off the market.
Before moving to Memphis from Vancouver in 2001, the Grizzlies were regular dwellers near the bottom of the standings. But West, one of the league's top executives, joined the franchise in 2002 and by 2004 the Grizzlies were in the playoffs.
The Grizzlies were swept in all three playoff appearances, however, and have the league's longest postseason losing streak.
Advertisement

Top NBA Public Bets

#2 515 Utah Jazz  82%
#3 506 Milwaukee Bucks  73%
#4 508 Indiana Pacers  72%
#5 501 Atlanta Hawks  69%
#7 510 Denver Nuggets  61%
Advertisement

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Hosts seek redemption after holiday collapse Despite the best efforts of Kevin Durant, Golden State suffered a gut-wrenching loss to Cleveland on Christmas. But is tonight’s rematch bound to produce...
Thumbnail Bulls vs. Grizzlies Pick Will the Memphis Grizzlies be able to hold off a short-handed Chicago Bulls team tonight at 9PM ET?
Thumbnail Pistons vs. Lakers Pick Which struggling team will get a needed win on Sunday as the Los Angeles Lakers host the Detroit Pistons at 9PM ET?
Thumbnail Knicks vs. Raptors Prediction Is the over a good play for bettors today when the Raptors host the Knicks at 3:00PM ET?
Thumbnail Spurs vs. Suns Prediction Should bettors stay away from the Suns tonight when they host the Spurs at 6:00PM ET? Or is Phoenix a good play as a double-digit home dog?
Advertisement

NBA Team Pages