Thursday, June 5, 2008

Heisley Not Unhappy with Wallace

Michael Heisley called me from Kuala Lumpur. He is pissed off at Adrian Wojnar-who-ski or whatever that blogger from Yahoo's name is. I am not linking to that trash but I am sure you can find it if you look around. The truth is exactly what 3 Shades of Blue wrote earlier this week. Adrian had an agenda and took comments out of context and ignored statements that completely contradicted the tone of the article he wanted to write.

This is the message Mr. Heisley wants Memphis fans to hear and understand.

Michael Heisley is in no way unhappy with Chris Wallace. Michael Heisley approved the deal with LA and it accomplished what Mr. Heisley wanted. If anyone wants to be upset about the deal they should be upset with Heisley not Chris Wallace.

I wish I had exact quotes but I didn't have a tape machine with me when he called and I honestly wasn't expecting a phone call from Mr. Heisley at 8:30 in the morning at my office. I mean does anyone expect a phone call from a billionaire at anytime in the morning?

Anyway, Heisley said when he conducted the interview he was about to walk into a meeting and assumed the blogger would do an interview like 3 Shades of Blue did and simply report what he said. If he had realized that instead it was going to be a 'hatchet job' where statements were going to be taken out of context and misrepresented he would have been far more wary of what he said. Mr. Heisley isn't a media savvy man who spins what he says. He is brutally honest. He tries to tell the truth which leaves him susceptible to tricks like this blogger used to forward a position the writer wants.

Mr. Heisley isn't saying that everyone has to love the deal he made. However, you should understand the deal he made. He tried for over a year to get a deal done where he received back what he believed to be equal talent. All the other teams in the league knew this. No one was offering anything close to fair value. Once the decision was made to go with a youth movement and acquiring cap space relief the Grizzlies again approached teams about acquiring Gasol. He made public the negotiations with Chicago but that doesn't mean there weren't negotiations with other teams. Only Los Angeles was willing to provide a huge salary cap savings, 2 #1 draft picks and young talent that the Grizzlies wanted. No one else was coming to the table with comparable offers. Mr. Heisley made the decision to take the LA offer and it was his decision alone. Any team now pretending to not know Gasol was available is not telling the truth. Memphis contacted many teams but they did not conduct an auction for Gasol. You can't do that in the NBA. Any team could contact the Grizzlies and many did. Memphis also initiated contact with many teams.

It is blogs like that one that really hurt the efforts of people like us who are trying to educate fans about the team. When we write our opinions we do so where it is clear that this is what we are thinking or feeling. When we quote other people (like we have in the Heisley interview and others) we don't slant the comments to fit our agenda. We simply lay it out there and let the readers decide what to think. If the Yahoo blogger had done the same thing the blog would have had a decidedly different feeling to it.

Of course he wouldn't have been interviewed on Chris Vernon's show and been linked to stories all over the country either. So congrats Adrian for getting your 15 minutes of fame. Too bad it had to come at the expense of the truth and the Memphis Grizzlies.

BallHype: hype it up!


GrizzledGrizzFan said...

Interesting - I wonder if he left a message for RonRon as well?

Another note, I don't/haven't/wouldn't consider Adrian Wojnarowski a blogger. He's a columnist for a major (IMO) media outlet. Also, I seriously doubt he considered a few minutes on the air with Chris Vernon as his "15 minutes". I've heard him on national shows in the past. That part of your piece was a bit snarky and a downer for an otherwise (as usual) nice read.

kfilament said...

i thought it was pretty obvious adrian had an ajenda from the get go of that column. I enjoy his stuff most of the time, but fromt he first paragraph it was clear what the article was to be about, regardless of what heisley had said, hell he couuld have said "I support chris wallace 100%,etc.." and adrian would have just said he was "clearly lying" or something.

With the finals upon us heisly should have known better than give an interview about the gasol trade, does he not have a PR person??

August West said...

great headline, by the way.

Also, I love Heisley's accessibility, but I'd imagine he won't do it much longer if he keeps getting burned like this (though I really, really hope he continues to talk to you guys).

cehoward said...

Great read and I agree with most of it. My problem is unless Heisley was misquoted I don't really see a positive spin on his statement. I agree that what he originally said in the 3SOB interveiw was probably the closest to the truth. However I feel like he is a little embarassed over the heat the team is taking over the whole Pau in the finals mess. And I don't think he was intentially trying to throw CW under the bus, but UNLESS he did not say he thought CW should of gotten more in the trade, that is exactly what he did.

Anonymous said...

You should probably check Adrian's credentials before comparing him to "bloggers" like yourself. Seriously? Adrian is a major national columnist who has won countless awards in journalism and written a NY Times best-selling book that is about to be made into a major motion picture. A blogger like you? Come on. You're smarter than that, right?

Jon said...

Adrian is not a "blogger." He's a very respected national columnist.

Anonymous said...

I think the other guys have summed up what most of us think- that you are the one that is just a blogger while he is a nationally known sports writer with a good reputation. You keep talking about "his agenda" well then tell us, what is his agenda???

You are just standing up for Heisley because he has been nice to you to grant you interviews and call you. What else did you think he would tell you?? With the negative backlash from the column of course he is going to blame is on Adrian W!

Chip Crain said...

Okay, I probably went overboard on the blogger bit but his partial quotes is not what an award winning journalist interested in getting the truth out should do.

His agenda was obviously to have Heisley say the Gasol deal was terrible. What Heisley insists is that he didn't say that if you listen to everything he said. Adrian chose not to give us that. He took a part of a sentence that leaves an impression that it was a complete thought.

Adrian thinks the players we got are worthless, the draft picks are worthless and the cap space is immaterial. Heisley has repeatedly said he may have gotten more in immediate talent but that isn't what he wanted. He wanted young players, draft picks and cap space. That is what he got with the Lakers deal and he doesn't wonder if Wallace blew. He made the decision and it was his alone to take the blame or get the credit.

Adrian was wrong implying otherwise.

Now if you want to argue the merits of the deal I have to agree with Adrian. It looks bad right now because Memphis has nothing to show for it while LA is in the finals. Memphis' benefits will come later if at all.

Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous. Sorry but you lost my respect. As a regular joe like me with a blog you weren't quite as credible but now . . .

See ya 3 shades of blue.

Chip Crain said...

See you anonymous.

The scary part is that this unnamed person wants to believe a partial quote from Heisley means what Adrian implies it means instead of Heisley saying he didn't mean that at all and it would have been obvious if you heard the entire quote.

Anyone believe there is a chance in hell Adrian will release the entire transcript of the conversation to prove Heisley is lying now? If Adrian is the award winning journalist his supporters think him to be he should end the arguement and release the entire transcript so everyone can see for themselves everything Heisley said.

Shawn said...

Good post. Thanks for the information. I dont get the complaints about your blog. Chip, you obviously will defend heisley. I think you like him and you like that he called you. I dont have a problem with that because, as you said you lay it out there. I apreciate it.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if many people in Vancouver would call Heisley "brutally honest"... the people of Memphis should be prepared to watch their team move to newer digs. Especially if he shows up opening night to sing the national anthem...

Chip Crain said...

By btutally honest I am not saying that in a positive way. He shoots from the hip and says things that could and probably should be said better.

However, I could easily have taken some lines from our interview with him and make it sound like he was saying something totally different than what he really meant. That is why I didn't edit it much. You have to listen to the complete response to fully understand what he means.

Heisley told me point blank that he is not unhappy with Chris Wallace. He told Chris what he wanted out of a Gasol trade and Wallace got the best deal to accomplish what Heisley wanted. If you don't like the deal then blame Heisley for wanting rookie contracts and cash relief (I wouldn't call it cap relief unless he uses that money to bring in some real players).

To imply that Heisley is upset with Wallace for doing what his boss told him to do was where I had problems with the piece by Adrian. Heck, the only quote about Wallace never said he was unhappy with him and is not even a complete sentence. As I said, I don't have exact quotes from Heisley but I believe him in what he told me. I may not like the direction told Wallace to go but I fully believe Wallace gave Heisley the type of deal he wanted.

Rob Mahoney said...

Frankly, I'm not really sure why all these Anons are so enraged by this whole situation. Yes, Woj is a respected member of the press who happens to have a Yahoo! blog, but this only makes the accusations Chip is mentioning that much more serious. I'd really doubt if Woj releases any kind of transcript or even a response, which is really a pity. My instinct is to believe Heisley, because I do appreciate his honesty and openness with 3SoB and the media on the whole, which is endearing and refreshing from an NBA owner.

Either way, thanks for blogging about something that is not only interesting but important

Anonymous said...

Interesting. When I first read the article, I interpreted it as Wojnarowski presenting yet another reason why the Grizzlies are a bottom-of-the-league franchise. Your blog is now linked on HoopsHype, and after reading your post, I re-read the Wojnarowski column. I still think it's more about the state of the Grizzlies rather than "ratting out" Heisley. The comment regarding Wallace could be completely removed from the article, and the tone of Wojnarowski's piece still wouldn't change.

Perhaps Heisley should put more effort into making sure his draft picks count this year and carefully target the free agent market now that his club has cleared cap space.

(BTW, I'm a different Anonymous poster than the previous person. Just came here from the HoopsHype link.)

cehoward said...

I really don't know why everyone is freaking out. Chip gave his opinion just like Wojnarowski gave his. And just b/c Chip has had the oportunity to sit down with Heisley he's some kind of sellout. I think these guys have proven several times that they won't pull any punches.

Anonymous said...

the grizzlies has always made good trades since they traded for gasol. the picks of lowry and conley were good, even they have been injured.

drafting gay was great and the team looks like they will draft love. the problem with the grizzlies was the resignation of hubie brown. the team was a playoff contender with him and with fratello. but fratello's style was dull.

how insecure can memphis players be. gasol is a number 2 guy, not a franchise player. the move was a good one. get young, lower the payroll and build a championship team, not a playoff team. is love the answer - no. but it is still a move forward. with a couple of more tweaks, the team will be back in the playoffs within 2 years. patience people, patience.

AussieGfan said...

But people don't want to be "back in the playoffs" they want a playoff win and a run at the championship. Maybe that's what you meant. But my point is people would not be happy to go back to what there was with Hubie or Fratello.

Personally I enjoyed the team the most during those 3 seasons but maybe it'll be worth the wait of being so bad right now if it means getting back there and doing more then getting swept straight back out.

The hardest thing is that it's hard to see how that's going to happen right now. Good players don't just fall into your lap unless you have alot of luck or someone like West steering the ship. Memphis could do a good job but there is 29 other teams out there also trying to do the same thing. So it's very tough.

Markus said...

Good Job! :)