Yahoo! Sports reported later Thursday that the Grizzlies are set to formally interview former Nuggets coach George Karl on Monday.
This week, the Grizzlies told former head coach Lionel Hollins that his contract would not be renewed, and both sides parted ways.
The source said the Grizzlies like Pinckney for "his knowledge of defense from [Tom] Thibodeau and [Pat] Riley, and for his good rapport with players." While the Grizzlies were No. 1 in the NBA last season in opponents' points per game (89.3), the Bulls were third-best (92.9). Both teams demonstrated a strong persistence with their physical and solid frontcourt play. Pinckney's coaching with first-time All-Star Joakim Noah could provide value for Grizzlies big men Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
Pinckney is also sought after by the Grizzlies because he's well-respected throughout the league, has a wealth of varied experience and has been involved with different winning programs. After leading Villanova to the biggest upset in NCAA championship history in 1985, he played in the NBA for 12 years, competing alongside Larry Bird and Kevin McHale with the Boston Celtics. He was also coached by Riley with the Miami Heat, a franchise that he ended up working for in the front office and broadcast booth.
Pinckney has also been an assistant coach for Villanova, credited for recruiting future NBA talent Kyle Lowry and Randy Foye to help lead the Wildcats to the Elite Eight in 2006. In addition, Pinckney served on the Minnesota Timberwolves' bench, alongside McHale, and he worked on the Philadelphia 76ers' broadcast team before joining the Bulls' staff in 2010.