Kleiman, 33, is the second Grizzlies executive to receive the honor. Jerry West won the award for the 2003-04 season while working with the Grizzlies. Kleiman became general manager and executive vice president of basketball operations in April 2019.
The Grizzlies GM received 16 of 29 first-place votes and earned 85 total points. Cleveland president Koby Altman and Chicago executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas tied for second. Phoenix general manager James Jones and Miami president Pat Riley tied for fourth.
Kleiman put together the roster that had the NBA’s second-best record at 56-26, tying the franchise record for wins in a single season. The Grizzlies’ No. 2 seed in the Western Conference is the highest in franchise history.
Grizzlies guard Ja Morant started the All-Star Game and won the Most Improved Player award. Taylor Jenkins finished second in voting for Coach of the Year. Kleiman hired Jenkins in 2019 and later drafted Morant with the No. 2 pick overall.
Kleiman first joined Memphis in 2015 as in-house legal counsel before becoming assistant general manager for the 2018-19 season. He worked at an international law firm before working for Memphis.