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Newz Forum: BASKETBALL: Fratello, Grizzlies to close deal

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posted on Nov, 28 2004 @ 10:48 AM
Two days after Hubie Brown's sudden retirement, Memphis might have a replacement -- minus the interim tag.

Mike Fratello was in Memphis on Saturday, meeting with Grizzlies officials to finalize details that will make him the team's next coach, ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher reports.

Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley told The Associated Press on Saturday that the former Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers coach met with president of basketball operations Jerry West.

"Jerry basically interviewed or talked with Mike Fratello," Heisley said. "He didn't tell me what went on in the interview. I haven't talked to him about it, and I haven't talked to Mike Fratello about it. I assume they had a good talk, and I have no reason to believe they won't be talking again."

One of the details that needs to be worked out is a settlement between Fratello and TNT, the network he's worked for for years as an NBA analyst. But it's considered a minor sticking point and isn't expected to hold up the deal.

West on Friday denied the report, but an announcement is expected either Sunday or Monday.

Fratello would replace Brown, 71, who retired Thursday night for medical reasons that he refuses to divulge. Assistant Lionel Hollins was named interim coach in time for Friday's game against Minnesota, which the Grizzlies lost 115-90. Memphis lost again 98-85 to the Dallas Mavericks.

"Nothing's been said to me," Hollins told AP before Saturday's game against the Mavericks. "I just know I was asked to coach. That's what I was asked to do."

Fratello spent 13 seasons as a head coach in the NBA, compiling a career record of 592-499, including 20-34 in the playoffs. He coached the Hawks from 1983-90, going 324-253 (including three games in the 1980-81 season) and the Cavs from 1993-99 (248-212).

Heisley said the decision on a new coach is being handled by West, and he is unaware of a timetable for naming Brown's replacement.

"Jerry will tell me what the timetable is," Heisley said. "He hasn't told me who it is going to be. I don't know any more than you guys know about who it is going to be and when it is going to be."

Heisley discounted reports that the team already hired Fratello.

"It's news to me," Heisley said. "I think I'd know if we had a contract."



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