Ex-Cats

Tayshaun Prince to join Memphis Grizzlies in front office role

Former UK star Tayshaun Prince was the “Y” during a break in Kentucky’s game against Kansas on Nov. 28, 2016.
Former UK star Tayshaun Prince was the “Y” during a break in Kentucky’s game against Kansas on Nov. 28, 2016. Staff File Photo

Former University of Kentucky star Tayshaun Prince will soon be named special assistant to Memphis Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace, according to several NBA sources.

Prince, 37, played for the Grizzlies from Jan. 2013-15. Prince and Austin Daye were traded to the Grizzlies in a three-team deal that sent Rudy Gay and Hamed Haddadi to the Toronto Raptors, and the Raptors sent José Calderón to the Detroit Pistons. The Grizzlies also received Ed Davis from the Raptors.

Prince was eventually traded to the Boston Celtics in a 2015 three-team deal involving the Grizzlies and the New Orleans Pelicans. Before the trade, Prince helped the Grizzlies reach the 2013 Western Conference finals.

Prince is widely considered a big influence in NBA locker rooms and operated as a calming voice with Grizzlies players.

The Grizzlies believe Prince will bring a unique voice to front office decisions.

Before the 2014-15 season, Prince started 838 regular-season games since the beginning of the 2003-04 season with the Detroit Pistons. That was the second-most in the NBA, behind Cleveland’s LeBron James.

Prince always discussed his role as wide-ranging.

“It’s not the minutes you play, it’s what you can get done in the time you’re out there and the opportunities you have,” Prince told The Commercial Appeal in 2014. “Obviously, what I do on the floor, being versatile and defending multiple positions and doing things without scoring, requires minutes. But who knows what the minutes will be? It’s just having more of a chance offensively would be the only thing I’d say that would be a different scenario.”

Teammates echoed Prince’s sentiment.

“He’s a good friend and a great locker room guy,” swingman Tony Allen said. “He’s a class A-1 guy. He knows how things are supposed to be run. He’s a champion.”

Said Quincy Pondexter, who replaced Prince as the starter at small forward during the 2014-15 season: “He’s being a great veteran, teaching and trying to feel things out like the rest of us.”

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