Jason Levien had lunch with Bulls general manager Gar Forman on Monday.

Levien did so this time as Forman's peer, not pest.

Levien is the Grizzlies' new chief executive officer and managing partner after helping assemble the group, led by tech billionaire Robert Pera, that purchased the team from St. Charles native Michael Heisley in October. Levien knows Forman and the Bulls well; he negotiated Luol Deng's six-year, $71 million extension in 2008 in his former career as an agent.

And the pest part is tongue-in-cheek; he and Forman have long had a cordial, professional relationship.

"This team has a real identity and they play unselfish, team-first basketball," Levien said. "It's a tribute to the players and staff. Our approach has been to observe it, to see where we can add value but take our time getting to know the situation."

Levien first left representation to work in the Kings' front office. When that fizzled, he joined a group of investors who purchased the 76ers, sitting courtside last season during the first-round playoff series against the Bulls.

Then Levien worked his way to Memphis, where he recently hired ESPN's John Hollinger, who specializes in analytics, as vice president of basketball operations. Hollinger's first day was Monday, same for Stu Lash, another former agent who represented Bulls camp body Kyrylo Fesenko and is now director of player personnel.

"I'd spent time in Memphis before and always loved it," Levien said. "This team is a big part of the community. It's also a team on the upswing."