Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger might occupy the league’s warmest seat among head coaches, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Memphis has started the season with a record of 3-3, but it’s the way the team has lost those three games that has people within the organization fearing that owner Robert Pera won’t wait long to make a major change, Stein writes. Sources tell Stein that Pera wants to see guard Jordan Adams get an opportunity to play more, and that he hasn’t forgotten that twice last year the Grizzlies waived Hassan Whiteside, who is off to a tremendous start for the Heat this season.
After the team’s blowout loss to the Warriors last week, Joerger responded with this admission: “There are times when we look a little bit old,” Stein notes. The coach repeated the lament after the loss to the Blazers, a game in which Portland received 23 quality minutes from Ed Davis, a player Joerger didn’t have much use for when he saw a career-low 15.2 minutes per game for Memphis two seasons ago. Stein reads Joerger’s “old” comment as barely concealed criticism of the recent choices from the Memphis front office. The ESPN.com scribe points to the acquisitions of Vince Carter and Matt Barnes as examples of moves that haven’t helped the Grizzlies as much as they might have hoped.
What threatens Joerger more than anything else, according to Stein, are internal questions Pera has raised about Joerger’s leadership in the past and the fact that he nearly fired Joerger once before. Another complication is Pera’s fondness for Tom Thibodeau. Pera has gone after Thibodeau before and might make another go at the ex-Bulls coach before someone else beats him to it, Stein posits. Upper management, and not the team’s basketball operations department, was the catalyst for Jeff Bzdelik‘s ascension to the role of lead assistant this past summer, sources tell Stein.
The Grizzlies have only played six games and the team could easily look like the championship contenders that many thought they would be once we get a larger sample size. The schedule does them no favors, as they finish their five-game road trip with contests against the Jazz tonight and the Clippers on Monday. A pair of poor showings could expedite a shake-up, although that is just my speculation.