VOL. 131 | NO. 92 | Monday, May 9, 2016
Grizzlies Fire Dave Joerger
By Don Wade
The Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday fired head coach Dave Joerger after three seasons. The team made the playoffs all three years, including this past season when the Grizzlies used an NBA-record 28 players due to multiple injuries.
“After careful consideration,” Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace said in a statement, “I concluded that a change was needed to foster the strong culture required to achieve sustainable, long-term success for this organization, the city and our fans.”
Before the Grizzlies announced the firing, Adrian Wojanrowski of Yahoo! Sports’ The Vertical broke the news and provided some context: Joerger and his agent had sought permission to speak to other teams about their head coaching vacancies. Joerger had one year left on his contract with Memphis and he told media one day after the San Antonio Spurs swept the Grizzlies out of the first round that no one had approached him about an extension.
Joerger also sidestepped questions about personnel and how players might be used going forward. Wojanrowski wrote that the Grizzlies were upset, in part, because this was the second time in three years Joerger had wanted to explore other options. After his first season as head coach, he asked permission to talk to Minnesota about its opening.
Beyond that, tensions between Joerger and the front office had been evident for some time and he had taken more than the occasional public dig at the team’s roster, moves, lack of moves and, in his view, his limited input on personnel decisions.
Wojanrowski said former Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel would be an initial target as Joerger’s successor. The Vertical’s report also suggested that the Sacramento Kings and Joerger had strong mutual interest in him succeeding George Karl as head coach there.
This offseason is considered a big one for the Grizzlies with point guard Mike Conley becoming a free agent. Conley has expressed a desire to return to the Grizzlies, but also will expect a max deal or close to it and that the team will add players around him and center Marc Gasol to keep the franchise relevant going forward.
The Grizzlies owe Joerger $2 million for his 2016-17 contract and the team held an option for an additional year, a source told The Vertical.
Joerger started with the Grizzlies as an assistant coach with the Grizzlies prior to the 2007-08 season, eventually replacing Lionel Hollins as head coach on June 27, 2013 after Hollins had led the team to the Western Conference Finals.
Joerger owns an overall career head coaching record of 147-99 (.598), including three NBA Playoff appearances with the Grizzlies. In 22 career playoff games, he holds an overall record of 9-13 (.409).