- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 20, 2014

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - The man now temporarily in charge of the Grizzlies’ basketball operations says he wants the job on a permanent basis.

However, general manager Chris Wallace said Tuesday he hasn’t discussed when the team’s majority owner Robert Pera will evaluate his interim status.

Wallace’s new position is part of the shake-up of the Grizzlies front office. Memphis CEO Jason Levien, who also ran basketball operations, and the Grizzlies’ director of player personnel left in a surprise move Monday.

Wallace has been with the Grizzlies as GM since 2007, a job he also held with the Boston Celtics.

Asked if Pera may want to bring someone else in - possibly a bigger name - for the job, Wallace says that’s always a possibility.

“I expect in any situation where there’s an opening at any level in sports people look around,” Wallace told reporters at the Grizzlies’ practice gym. “That doesn’t concern me.”

The front office shake-up came after the Grizzlies went 50-32 and lost the first-round playoff series in seven games to Oklahoma City. Levien not only owns a small percentage of the team, he also helped pull together the large group of local buyers who joined Pera, founder and CEO of Ubiquiti Networks, in buying the franchise in November 2012. Levien was seen as Pera’s right-hand man and the face of the front office.

The changes came quickly. Coach Dave Joerger said Tuesday on Sports56 radio that he was just as surprised as anybody else.

Joe Nicosia and Pitt Hyde, who own a minority share of the Grizzlies and are members of the team’s executive committee, agreed with shake-up.

“We fully support Robert in his building of a world-class organization and look forward to continuing to work in concert to achieve our ultimate goal of bringing a championship parade down Beale Street,” Nicosia and Hyde said in a joint statement issued by the team.

For now, the NBA draft and free agency are just weeks away. The Grizzlies currently have only one selection, the No. 22 overall pick.

“This is really the peak time of the year in the offseason,” said Wallace, who helped build Memphis‘ core of center Marc Gasol, power forward Zach Randolph, point guard Mike Conley and defensive stopper Tony Allen.

Randolph can become a free agent this summer if he decides not to pick up a $16.5 million player option. The Grizzlies, coming off their fourth straight playoff appearance, have said they want to keep Randolph. Wallace has a good working relationship with Randolph’s agent, Raymond Brothers, and the men have been friends for many years.

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