Gasol, Fizdale Tensions Went Far Beyond Benching

Grizzlies center Marc Gasol and former coach David Fizdale had such a strained relationship that they rarely spoke to one another, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal’s Geoff Calkins. Fizdale was fired on Monday, one day after he benched his leading scorer, rebounder and shotblocker in the fourth quarter against the Nets. The benching served as the breaking point and Gasol, who has a tight relationship with owner Robert Pera, had expressed major concerns about the team’s direction under Fizdale, Calkins continues.

Commercial Appeal beat writer Ronald Tillery confirms the longterm disconnect between coach and star player. A team source told Tillery that the tension between them and Sunday’s benching weren’t the only reasons that Fizdale was axed. That source said the team was “trending down in several categories.” However, Tillery tweets that as recently as Saturday, a source close to the owner said that Fizdale’s job was safe because of the team’s injury issues. That’s an indication that Sunday’s incident swiftly changed Pera’s thinking.

In other reactions to Fizdale’s dismissal:

  • Cavaliers stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade both expressed their dismay on social media, demanding answers regarding the firing, as Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com relays. Both played under Fizdale when he was an assistant with the Heat.
  • Interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff is one of the potential long-term replacements for Fizdale but Sean Deveney of the Sporting News lists several other intriguing names. Former head coaches Mark Jackson, David Blatt and Monty Williams, former player Shane Battier, and several current college coaches such as Tony Bennett, Patrick Ewing and John Calipari are some of the candidates Memphis could look at, according to Deveney.
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16 thoughts on “Gasol, Fizdale Tensions Went Far Beyond Benching

  1. Z-A

    Gasol always struck me as a Richard Nixon. Just his face. Seems like he was too tall for his true calling as a early 2000s NFL WR.

    • Most likely b/c of the potential trade rumors and they don’t want him? Just speculating. Plus… I heard the James interview after the game last night and he was asked about the trade. It’s not like he stuck his nose where it didn’t belong. The interviewer did.

  2. formerlyz

    Marc Gasol is still an amazing player. I lost an incredible a lot of respect for him otherwise though. I never saw him as a non team guy, but essentially that’s how he acted here and he got a very good coach fired

  3. liamsfg

    It just seems silly that a player has any sway regarding what the coach does strategically.

    Gasol gets payed to play, not make rotational substitutions.

    Sometimes a coach has to let his guys on the floor eat it to teach them a lesson that could help in the playoffs. I assume he didn’t want Gasol to bail them out during an atrocious choke.

  4. Warriors

    Lmao LeBron needs to stop thinking he’s the GM over the league. He’s only needed around the league to play that’s it once he can’t play anymore hit the road. Don’t coach don’t broadcast just leave not needed in the sport just your playing.

    • formerlyz

      He was speaking up for one of his coaches, which he had a really close relationship with, and he is right. And unsurprisingly, plenty of other people that know Fiz have said something as well

    • I hope “warriors” poster realizes he was asked about it. James didn’t start the conversation. He simply answered the question.

      You should worry more about one of your players showing his gerken pickle on snap chat.

  5. It’s the “demanding answers” comment that irks me about James and Wade.

    If a reporter asked them after the game there thoughts, and they had Fiz’s back, I get it. If they went to Social Media and expected the Grizz to give them answers, then LBJ is again being the egotistical, all-important A-Hole that he has shown many times previously.

    • formerlyz

      Fizdale is that good of a coach with that close of relationships with his players. It’s a shocking situation. I would have been surprised if they hadn’t said anything about it

  6. all in ad

    Coach Killers: Magic Johnson, Derrick Rose, add Gasol to that list. Shameful.

  7. x%sure

    I demand answers also, and I don’t even care that much. Probably everyone that reads HR wants to know. Someone who cares about a coach they like wants to know even more!
    Strange to hear Lebron called out for that by readers of a site called HOOPSRUMORS.

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