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GM Chris Wallace On Firing Dave Joerger

The Grizzlies made the somewhat surprising move of firing coach Dave Joerger earlier today after he led a patchwork roster that had been decimated by injuries to a record of 42-40 and the seventh playoff seed in the Western Conference this season. The relationship between Joerger and Memphis’ front office had reportedly become toxic and contentious, and Joerger’s request to interview for the Kings’ and Rockets’ vacant coaching posts was apparently the final straw between the coach and team. Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace discussed the move to part ways with Joerger on the team’s official website. The entire article is worth a read, but here are some of the highlights:

On why Joerger was fired:

The decision was made because I believe you need a deeply committed leadership team in order to establish the strong culture needed for sustainable long-term success. I don’t want to get into specifics, but our goal now is to identify the best candidate for our organization. The decision was not about Dave’s in-game coaching. Dave did an admirable job managing games. However, being an NBA head coach is about more than just coaching a 48-minute game.

On who made the decision to fire Joerger and if team owner Robert Pera was involved:

This was my decision. I explained my decision to Robert, just as any GM would to their owner, and he was supportive. This was not an easy decision for me and as we all know often the right decision isn’t the easy one. But with that said, I am confident that change was necessary to grow the type of culture that is needed for sustained success.

On whether parting ways with Joerger will give the perception of organizational instability and hurt the team in free agency this offseason:

This decision is about ensuring stability for years to come. We are a stable and unified organization and one of only three teams to have made the playoffs for six straight years. We’re planning for sustained success and will find a coach that shares our long-term outlook. Regarding your second question, our core players have re-signed with this organization time after time. We have had success attracting other talent like Brandan Wright and Vince Carter and we will continue to build on this success.

On whether firing Joerger was motivated by personal reasons, given the reported tension between the former coach and front office:

Nothing about this decision was personal.  Neither I, nor anyone in our front office has anything against Dave as a person. This decision is solely about what I believe is best for the organization. We wish him and his family the very best in the future.

On Joerger’s claims that he wasn’t given ample input into personnel matters and roster construction:

We actively sought Dave’s input and thoughts on player personnel decisions, including all drafts, trades and free agency. And frankly, decisions in recent years were made with Dave’s close involvement.

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