The Grizzlies parted ways with head coach Dave Joerger this morning, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports (Twitter links). Joerger had asked Memphis for permission to speak with other teams regarding their coaching vacancies and Memphis decided to cut its ties with him, Wojnarowski adds. Memphis is still on the hook for Joerger’s $2MM salary for 2016/17, the scribe notes, adding that the coach’s deal included a team option for the 2017/18 season. The Grizzlies intend to pursue former Pacers coach Frank Vogel, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link).
Sacramento had been pushing hard to gain permission from the Grizzlies to speak with Joerger regarding its coaching vacancy, Wojnarowski relays (via Twitter), and Joerger is now at the top of the Kings’ wish list as they seek a replacement for George Karl. Joerger had requested permission to speak with the Kings and Rockets about their coaching vacancies, as Wojnarowski writes in a full-length post. Sacramento’s willingness to give him a long-range deal with annual salaries likely around $4MM made the Kings attractive to Joerger despite their reputation for dysfunction, Wojnarowski notes.
Memphis confirmed that Joerger was let go in an official announcement. “After careful consideration, 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,” said GM Chris Wallace. “On behalf of the Grizzlies organization I would like to thank Dave for his work and time in Memphis. We wish Dave and his family all the best and success as he moves forward in his career.”
The trust between Joerger and the front office had eroded over the past several months, Wojnarowski notes, and tensions escalated between the coach and team management. The organization was frustrated with Joerger publicly making disparaging comments about the roster and his own limited role in player personnel, a league source told the Vertical scribe. Joerger had reportedly grown increasingly belligerent to many within the organization, believing the team was setting him up to fail in 2016/17, Wojnarowski adds.
The Grizzlies are quite high on Joerger’s coaching ability, but they failed to see eye-to-eye on personnel matters, with Joerger believing the team didn’t take his opinions seriously and the team convinced otherwise, as Wojnarowski details. Joerger was pushing for either a long-term deal from the Grizzlies or a way out, and that’s what led to his dismissal, according to Wojnarowski.
In three seasons as the Grizzlies’ head coach, Joerger’s record was 147-99 (.598), including a mark of 9-13 in the playoffs. Memphis reached the conference semifinals in 2015, losing to the eventual champion Warriors. The coach arguably did his best work this season, leading a patchwork roster that had been decimated by injuries to a record of 42-40 and the seventh playoff seed in the Western Conference.