Southwest Notes: Bickerstaff, Fizdale, Pachulia, Mavs

Former Rockets coach J.B. Bickerstaff is being considered for a job on the Grizzlies‘ staff, tweets John Martin of ESPN929.com. A source told Martin that Bickerstaff traveled to Memphis Friday to meet with new coach David Fizdale. Bickerstaff had a 37-34 record with Houston after taking over for Kevin McHale in November. He pulled his name out of consideration in the Rockets’ coaching search before they hired Mike D’Antoni.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Fizdale has a reputation as a players’ coach, but that’s because he’s a communicator, not a pushover, writes Tom Schad of The Commercial Appeal. Fizdale spent the past two seasons as an assistant in Miami, where he became known for his directness. “That doesn’t mean you’re always nice. That means you’re true with your players,” former Heat point guard Beno Udrih said in an interview with ESPN 92.9. “I think players appreciate more if coaches, when he needs to be tough, he’s tough to them. And he can communicate in a different way that — picking up his voice — he does that. He has that very good balance to do that.”
  • The Mavericks hope to improve at center, so it’s likely that free agent Zaza Pachulia will wind up with another team, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Pachulia was a pleasant surprise after Dallas acquired him from the Bucks last summer in exchange for a second-round draft pick. He started 69 games and averaged close to a double-double with 8.6 points and 9.4 rebounds per night. The Mavs made a strong play for DeAndre Jordan last summer and are expected to chase free agent centers again. If they get one, they may not be able to afford to keep Pachulia as a backup.
  • Veteran Charlie Villanueva may also be leaving Dallas after a down shooting season, Sefko writes in a separate piece. Normally an effective stretch four, Villanueva connected on just 27% of his 172 3-point attempts this season. He is only 32, so there’s still a chance he’ll bounce back, but Sefko expects it to be with another organization.
  • The players the Mavericks target in free agency will provide a clue on the direction the franchise is taking, Sefko writes in a question-and-answer column. The writer says the Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson would be a nice pickup at point guard, but Dallas may not want to live with his mistakes while giving him time to develop. Sefko thinks the Mavericks will pursue veteran free agents who can help them win right away.

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