Robert Pera challenged Tony Allen to a game of one-on-one before last season, and when Dave Joerger expressed misgivings about such an event, owner Robert Pera blamed him, rather than Allen, whose indifference was the main reason the game never happened. Chris Mannix of SI.com passes along that detail along with others in his peek inside the rollercoaster relationship between Pera and the coach that appears hunky dory now. Yet after the Allen-Pera showdown failed to come off, Pera wanted to fire the coach, Mannix writes. Pera’s unconventional ideas included using Mike Miller as a player-coach, which would be impossible under the collective bargaining agreement. He also insisted on more minutes for Ed Davis, and when Davis only played a single minute in an early season game, Pera again wanted Joerger gone. Only when told it would be unseemly to fire a coach so early into his tenure did he back off, according to Mannix. Here’s more from a strange situation in Memphis and Minnesota:
- There was some confusion last week over whether Lionel Hollins has interviewed for the Wolves head coaching job, but according to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune, he’s done so. Zgoda also confirms that Sam Mitchell, a favorite of owner Glen Taylor, has interviewed with Minnesota, too.
- The Grizzlies likely would have asked to swap first-round picks, perhaps attached to additional draft compensation, according to Zgoda, but the Wolves were reluctant to give up even a future second-rounder, as Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com write. That’s because the Wolves believed the Grizzlies would fire Joerger rather than keep him, allowing Minnesota to scoop him up without relinquishing any compensation.
- Pera, on Twitter, said that he never spoke with the Wolves about compensation for Joerger, and Pera and Joerger appear nonetheless sincere when they say they’re in it for the long haul together, tweets Geoff Calkins of The Commercial Appeal. Pera “improved” Joerger’s contract this weekend, Zgoda writes.
- The Grizzlies owner vowed on Twitter to spend to upgrade the team. “I will open up the checkbook and do whatever it takes to bring us closer to a championship organization,” Pera tweeted.
- Pera also said the team has begun the hunt for a new head of basketball operations, as Stein and Shelburne note, and he added that he wants interim GM Chris Wallace in the organization in some capacity, whether he keeps his GM role or not.