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Grizzlies Go With Lowe

For the fifth time in six seasons, the Vancouver Grizzlies have a new coach. This time the choice is Sidney Lowe, who was officially introduced Thursday at a news conference.

The team also appointed Andy Dolich as the new vice-president of business operations.

Grizzlies president Dick Versace has been negotiating with Lowe, a former NBA player and coach with the Minnesota Timberwolves, for the last few weeks.

Lowe was a member of North Carolina State's 1983 NCAA championship team, then spent parts of four seasons with Charlotte, Indiana, Atlanta, Detroit and Minnesota.

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Over the last seven seasons, Lowe has spent time as an assistant coach in Cleveland and Minnesota. He was the Wolves' head coach from January 1993 until the end of the 1993-94 season, compiling a 33-102 mark.

Lowe would become the Grizzlies' fifth head coach as they enter their sixth NBA season, but the first hired since Chicago businessman Michael Heisley paid $160 million for the franchise.

Brian Hill was fired as Vancouver's coach prior to Christmas and replaced by Lionel Hollins.

Vancouver finished the year with a 22-60 record and managed to set a modest franchise record for wins in a season. Since their inception, the Grizzlies have a 78-300 record. Meanwhile, their cross-country rivals, the Toronto Raptors, reached the NBA playoffs this season.

Aaron Goodwin, the agent for Grizzlies' star forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim who has hinted his client might want out of Vancouver, said he couldn't comment about Lowe's appointment because he didn't know Lowe at all. But Goodwin told the Vancouver Sun he was surprised Abdur-Rahim had not been consulted during the hiring process by either Versace or Heisley.

The Sun also reported that contract negotiations between Lowe and the Grizzlies concluded this week and that Lowe will likely sign a four-year deal worth close to $7 million.

If Lowe's job is to produce a winner on the floor, Dolich's duty will be to try to make the Grizzlies viable at the bank. The team lost an estimated $25 million US last season.

Dolich is currently executive vice-president of California-based, one of the largest ticket-selling companies in North America. Prior to that, he was with the Oakland Athletics for 14 seasons.

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