David Fizdale plans a full-court press to keep Mike Conley in Memphis, relays Tom Schad of The Commercial Appeal. The free agent point guard was among many topics Fizdale addressed this afternoon as he was formally introduced as the new head coach of the Grizzlies. “I’ve spoken to Mike Conley,” Fizdale said. “We had a fantastic conversation, a very energized, open conversation and an honest conversation. He’s going to get sick of me, because I’m going to follow him. I’m going to just follow him everywhere he goes. I’m going to hound him and teach him and collaborate with him and make him feel a part of this thing in a way that only a guy like [Dwyane] Wade can feel, in Miami. That’s my approach with him. I see him being a big part of this thing for a long time.” Fizdale worked with Wade during eight years as an assistant coach with the Heat.
Fizdale was hired from a crowded field of candidates that included Spurs assistants James Borrego and Ettore Messina, Hornets assistant Patrick Ewing, Grizzlies assistant Jeff Bzdelik and Trail Blazers assistant Nate Tibbetts. Memphis also spoke to ex-Pacers coach Frank Vogel, who was the only one other than Fizdale to meet with Grizzlies owner Robert Pera. Fizdale called their session a “fantastic meeting” and said he and Pera have similar philosophies about the game. “We speak the same language,” the new coach said. “He’s about culture. He’s about leadership. He’s about allowing people to do their work, hiring talent and empowering them to do their work. Growth mindset, big-time, like he’s so open-minded to stuff and innovative.”
Fizdale added that he’s in no hurry to put together his staff. It’s not certain if any of former coach Dave Joerger’s assistants will be retained. “We’re going to be very patient and methodical and we’re going to work very closely on this,” Fizdale said, “because I really want input so that we all feel good about this.”
Fizdale doesn’t mind inheriting a veteran team, writes David Williams of The Commercial Appeal. The Grizzlies are among the NBA’s oldest squads and are built around a foundation of Conley, Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Tony Allen, who have all been in the league for at least eight seasons. “My most proudest moments of development aren’t with the young guys,” Fizdale said. “It’s with the older guys. We just believed that our old guys could always get better, to have a growth mindset about everyone. If you look at Dwyane Wade, he’s constantly evolved. … LeBron James evolved and developed underneath us. Chris Bosh never shot a 3-point shot — and all of the sudden he’s one of the most deadly 3-point shooting 5 men in the league.”