The specter of an NBA lockout combined with the Grizzlies' obstinate negotiating manner could cost them another assistant coach by the weekend.
Johnny Davis, the lead assistant coach under Lionel Hollins, reportedly has an offer to join the Toronto Raptors in a similar role once his Griz contract expires at midnight. The Griz are working to retain Davis but an agreement hinges on the length of a deal, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
Davis, along with Hollins' entire staff, worked last season on a one-year deal without a raise from the previous season. Davis has been paid the going rate for lead assistants given his pedigree as a two-time former NBA head coach. But he will have an opportunity to receive a raise and more job security with Toronto, according to a source with knowledge of the Raptors' interest.
NBA.com first reported Toronto's interest in Davis.
Davis' departure would mean that Hollins will start next season without at least two members of a coaching staff that engineered the Grizzlies' most successful playoff run. Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire left last month -- soon after the Grizzlies' Western Conference semifinals appearance -- to join Josh Pastner's University of Memphis men's basketball staff.
Stoudamire is credited with impacting player development and influencing Zach Randolph's improved professionalism.
Davis oversaw the Grizzlies' offense and served as a calming and constructive influence on the bench during games.
To date, the Griz have only offered the assistant coaches one-year contracts with nominal raises. No one from the coaching staff has accepted the team's offer.
Assistant coach Dave Joerger, who handles defensive responsibilities, interviewed with the Houston Rockets last month. Joerger is waiting for the Rockets to summons him for a second interview.
The assistant coaches' deals expire at 11:59 p.m. tonight. Hollins will enter the second year of a three-year deal he signed before the start of last season. Davis and Joerger are the only coaches Hollins kept after taking over for former Griz coach Marc Iavaroni in 2009.
Losing Davis would be a serious blow given his experience and basketball acumen. He worked as head coach of Philadelphia in 1996 and Orlando from 2003-05. Davis has served as an assistant coach with Atlanta, the Los Angeles Clippers, Portland, New Jersey, Orlando and Minnesota.
Davis was an assistant in Minnesota for nearly two seasons under Dwane Casey, who was recently hired as the head coach in Toronto.