-- The Memphis Grizzlies have reportedly agreed to a deal with Miami Heat assistant David Fizdale for their head coaching job. Is he an upgrade over Dave Joerger?
Will the team keep free agent Mike Conley? What's the long-range outlook in Memphis?
Our Insider crew looks at the future for the Grizzlies.
1. What's your take on the hiring of David Fizdale as coach?
David Thorpe, ESPN Insider: Memphis was wise to promote assistant coach Dave Joerger in 2013 -- top assistants such as Joerger then and Fizdale now should get strong consideration more often.
There are not a lot of similarities between the Miami and Memphis franchises, with the Grizzlies enduring a lot of turmoil the past two years. Perhaps the new coach can help settle down a franchise that has some quality talent on its roster and a great fan base.
Kevin Pelton, ESPN Insider: The resume Fizdale built working under Erik Spoelstra merited an opportunity to run his own team. While it's always tough to apportion credit among assistants, since most of their work happens behind the scenes, I like Fizdale's experience working both with veteran rosters competing at a higher level and younger ones developing talent. Now it's up to the Grizzlies' core to be open to a new voice and possible stylistic changes.
Bradford Doolittle, ESPN Insider: Good hire. Fizdale has more than put in his time as an assistant. He has earned plaudits from guys like LeBron James and been exposed to every facet of the coaching game. You can rebuild with him if Conley leaves or benefit from the fresh perspective if Conley stays. Someone was going to give Fizdale a shot -- good for the Griz that it's them.
Kevin Arnovitz, ESPN.com: Smart hire by Memphis. Fizdale flourished in Miami in the league's most structured workplace, but he also has the kind of creativity that inspires players to develop their games. He grinded away in the video room and has mastered the science of game prep, but also knows how to earn the trust and respect of players, from superstars like LeBron James to the 15th guy, both of whom he loves working with on the floor.
2. What direction do you foresee and advise for the Grizzlies this offseason?
Arnovitz: Provided they can retain the services of one Michael Conley Jr., the Grizzlies should maintain a lean core of Conley, Marc Gasol and the couple of young players whose contracts they control ( JaMychal Green, Jarell Martin, etc.), but shuffle the rest of the deck, even if that means moving Zach Randolph and Tony Allen, who personify everything that's infectious about Memphis basketball.
Doolittle: I doubt that we'll see a complete reset this summer, unless they lose Mike Conley (which I don't think will happen). Even if healthy, it's unclear the Grizzlies can escape their current plateau, but I think they still have to try.
Memphis could better leverage Conley's ability to catch and shoot by finding more of a combo player to team with him rather than the sort of 3-and-D types they have had -- sort of like the Portland model. Next year, Tony Allen and Zach Randolph have expiring deals, opening an opportunity to remake the rotation even further around Conley and Marc Gasol.
Pelton: I foresee mostly the status quo: re-signing Conley after spending the team's cap space to retool the rotating cast of wings who have played alongside Conley, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol throughout the Grit and Grind era.
Would I advise that? It's hard to see a path toward the Grizzlies being a competitive team with this core, but the rebuild is likely to be so severe that I can't blame Memphis for putting it off.
3. Memphis general manager Chris Wallace was quoted predicting, "We are going to re-sign Mike Conley." From 0 to 100 percent, how confident should Wallace be?
Arnovitz: 45 percent. If you're Conley, it's a question of how much you value continuity and playing with Gasol for another four years versus upside and novelty. A year ago, the answer might have been 75, but it wouldn't be unreasonable for Conley to appraise the Grizzlies and conclude that there might be calmer waters elsewhere with a team that has a more certain trajectory and cast of characters.
Amin Elhassan, ESPN Insider: 50 percent. If I'm Mike Conley, I'm weighing the comfort and familiarity of the Grizzlies versus how much longer I think success can occur with this aging roster. With a plethora of options available (teams like Atlanta and Utah come to mind), Conley's services will be highly sought after. Re-signing long term might not be in his best interest.
If you're Memphis, though, without a doubt, Conley must be retained, no matter the cost.
Thorpe: I think the Grizzlies are about 50/50 to get him back. I just wonder if Wallace will be there to make the deal. With the team due for a significant transition, as is common when a team declines, it seems likely that Wallace will jump or be pushed. Watch for other teams to get interested in an amiable, experienced executive like Wallace.
As for Conley, he'll need to hear a vision for Memphis that makes sense to him, as he'll have nice options elsewhere.
Doolittle: 75 percent. Conley, Marc Gasol and the city of Memphis have a symbiotic relationship that is stronger than people realize from a national perspective. The Grizzlies also can offer him the most money, which never hurts. But Joerger was a part of that equation and his firing introduces another wild card into the process.
Pelton: Maybe 85 percent? Ultimately, nobody but Conley knows what he wants out of his free agency. But given his age, the ability for the Grizzlies to offer an additional year and larger raises should be a significant factor. If Conley were to hit free agency again in four years, it's unlikely he'd make as much money in 2020-21.
4. Wallace also predicted a "full recovery" for Marc Gasol after foot surgery. From 0 to 100 percent, how confident should Wallace be?
Arnovitz: 52 percent. I'd feel better if Gasol were 20 years old like Joel Embiid, who is also recovering from a navicular fracture, or even former teammate Quincy Pondexter, who was 25 at the time of his fracture. The navicular bone is a hub in the foot's skeletal structure, and when you're a 7-footer bouncing around a basketball court, it's especially important.
The good news is that medical technology is improving at an exponential rate, so Gasol is in a better place than he would've been had he fractured the bone 10 or even five years ago.
Elhassan: 60 percent? As my friend Ethan Strauss is known to say, "I'm not a doctor!" But when big men have foot issues (particularly big men who have a history of being on the heavy side), a red flag immediately goes up. Gasol's game is built to age well, if he can stay on the floor.
Thorpe: The GM is no doctor, and men Gasol's size with that kind of injury are prone to re-injury. So I'll guess 50/50. But I know this -- getting lean again would give Gasol his best odds. If he can lose 40, maybe 50 pounds, that might help him prolong his career.
Doolittle: 90 percent. It's scary when big men injure their feet, and Gasol's injury was in the mid-foot area, which is particularly concerning. However, the specific diagnosis was encouraging and he's already graduated from crutches to a walking boot, and even done a little light shooting at practice. Of course, since Gasol just finished the first season of a huge contract, Memphis has to proceed as if he's going to be healthy and hope this was a one-time thing.
Pelton: Around 65 percent? The recovery isn't usually the issue -- that's fairly predictable with broken bones. The problem is that foot bones have a tendency to break again, particularly with 7-footers. So Gasol's long-term health will remain a concern.
5. Should and will the Grizzlies bring back Lance Stephenson?
Arnovitz: If Lance Stephenson is the answer, you should worry about the question. The motley crew thing was cute in February and March, when any warm body would do and the Grizzlies rallied around their ragtag persona. But next season the Grizzlies need to sign players who are more simpatico with Conley and Gasol -- competitive, but someone a teammate might actually want to play basketball with over 100 games or so.
Elhassan: Stephenson's team option has to be picked up or declined by June 29, six days after the draft. This will give Memphis an idea as to how their roster will look. (Teams have a feel for their shot at certain free agents, one of the dark and dirty secrets of the NBA.)
Is the added flexibility gained by declining Stephenson's team option worth it if they end up losing him and not replacing him in free agency? Probably not. So he might be back.
Thorpe: He should be Plan B, given that this team desperately needs shooters. Stephenson shot 38.5 percent from 3-point range, but that's well above his career rate of 30.8 percent. If they expect to find better shooters via trade or free agency, they can opt him in. But if they can make better use of the money, then they can just decline the option.
Doolittle: I think Memphis likes him and he's produced for the Grizzlies with a minimum of quirky behavior. But I don't think the Grizzlies will, or should, pick up Stephenson's $9.4 million team option. During the playoffs his minutes have gone up and down, even though the Grizzlies have been desperate for offense. That says a lot. The big problem is that Stephenson doesn't provide the outside shooting that Memphis so desperately needs.
Pelton: I would say they will not and should not. Stephenson's playmaking ability was useful for the Grizzlies down the stretch, but becomes less valuable with Conley back in the lineup. Since playing in Indiana, Stephenson hasn't shown the ability to slot into a smaller role off the ball -- the one Memphis would need him to play.
Bonus: If Memphis keeps its core together, how many playoff series will it win in the next three years?
Arnovitz: If Conley re-signs, maybe one (which is the total they've won the past three seasons, counting this one). Outside of Golden State and San Antonio, there are two tickets to the second round each spring. Given the strength of the conference, including the possibility that OKC might come back for one more go and the consistency of Clippers' core, that's a fair amount of competition.
Elhassan: One. If we define the core beyond Conley and Gasol -- meaning they keep Randolph and Allen -- I think this is a team with diminishing returns: maybe a series win in 2017, no series wins in 2018 and no playoffs in 2019.
Thorpe: Zero, maybe one. Allen is an offensive liability; same for Randolph on defense. And even with Conley and Gasol returning, it will be hard for the Grizzlies to keep up with the teams likely to rise - Minnesota, Utah, Houston and maybe Dallas and Sacramento. The Grizzlies haven't shown us reason to think they can return to the top tier.
Doolittle: Two, if we're talking a core of Conley and Gasol and some complementary pieces around them that gradually evolve. Eventually they have to find some playmakers on the wing, one of which could be Jordan Adams. Jarell Martin and JaMychal Green appear to be long-term fits for the frontcourt. That said, it's hard to see how the Grizzlies get from second-round upside to the championship tier.
Pelton: If you set the line at 0.5, I'd probably take the under. It's certainly possible the Grizzlies could prove me wrong (all it takes is one series!), but I don't see them cracking the top four in the West next year and barring something unexpected those teams remain far ahead of the field. Meanwhile, Memphis will face pressure from below as lottery teams like Minnesota, New Orleans and Utah improve.