Breaking News
More () »

Maturity, 'walking the walk' theme of Grizzlies exit interviews

GM Zach Kleiman said the Grizzlies will take a 'different approach' when it comes to team's bravado next season

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Addressing a room full of reporters, Grizzlies executive vice president Zach Kleiman was the first to ask a question.

"Where do we want to begin?" Kleiman quipped at the end of the most tumultuous season of his tenure. 

Instead of hosting the Lakers for a Game 7, the Grizzlies held exit interviews Sunday at FedExForum, 36 hours after being bounced in the first round of the playoffs. 

The theme? Less talk, more action.

"There were definitely some self-created distractions in this series and along the way," Kleiman said. "We're going to take a different approach as it pertains to that next season."

"It's not about talking the talk and walking the walk," Taylor Jenkins added. "It's about walking the walk and walking the walk."

The Grizzlies are empowering their young trio of Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane to lead that charge.

"I've really challenged them," Jenkins said of his three young stars. "They know what we've got to do. Yes, we can easily point to we need to get veterans in here. ... I love the guys we've got. Who knows what happens in the future, but I'm going to lean on those guys to be the vets of the team."

"They even said it in front of the team," Morant said. "We've got to be the guys that lead us. It's something that we embrace, something that we're happy to do, happy to be a part of. We've just got to do it, honestly. Just go out and lead these guys."

The Grizzlies superstar point guard spent most of this season making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Since his return from his eight-game suspension, Morant said he's proud of the changes he is already making. Less trash talk, for one.

"Less drama," he said. "Less Ja on the blogs for something I said."

The Grizzlies have serious decisions to make this offseason. The team's No. 1 priority will be signing Desmond Bane to his rookie extension this summer.

"Des is a cornerstone, very significant piece of this group," Kleiman said. "I think he has an opportunity going forward to really establish himself as a key driver and a key leader within this group. I’m excited for the growth that he’s shown there, and I think he’ll have an even bigger opportunity to be the heart and soul of the group, that kind of guy going forward. Whatever I’m allowed to say about our interest and our intentions to extend Des, I’ll say that. Des is a huge part of this moving forward.”

Kleiman had very little interest in speaking about Dillon Brooks, an unrestricted free agent.

"I'll hit on DB another day," he said, without ruling out a potential reunion. "Nothing I can comment on for now with him going into free agency."

While an answer on Brooks' future with the team will have to wait, Kleiman said preparation for next season starts now.

"I don’t think anyone is satisfied coming out of this series with our performance," he said. "We are all heavily motivated to roll up our sleeves and figure out what are the right buttons to push and the right things to emphasize going forward. We can’t wait to dive back in."

Before You Leave, Check This Out