Although Marc Gasol expressed displeasure with his fourth-quarter benching on Sunday, there was no “him-or-me” mandate from Gasol to Grizzlies management that led to David Fizdale‘s ouster on Monday, league sources tell Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link).
The Grizzlies’ decision to fire Fizdale did create the impression that the team was choosing Gasol over its head coach, but it may not be that simple, writes Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. Prior to Fizdale’s dismissal, speculation about a possible Gasol trade was beginning to gain steam. If the club had retained Fizdale and Gasol’s frustration led to a trade demand, it would have become more difficult for Memphis to move him. By avoiding that scenario, the Grizzlies can ensure that the veteran’s center trade value remains high, if they decide to consider that possibility.
“I don’t think [the Grizzlies] are done making changes,” one league executive told Deveney on Monday. “They could still move Gasol, they could still go into a rebuilding situation, but it would be harder if Gasol was saying he wants out. They have had plenty of offers for Gasol, and they have a couple of months to sort out whether they pull the trigger. But don’t be surprised if they do, even after this.”
Here’s more on the Grizzlies:
- The Celtics and Raptors are among the clubs that could be suitors for Gasol if the Grizzlies entertain offers, according to both Deveney and Forbes’ Mitch Lawrence. Lawrence identifies the Cavaliers and Trail Blazers as other teams that would have interest in the three-time All-Star. It would be tricky for some of those teams to put together viable packages for Gasol and his $22.6MM+ salary.
- Fizdale had the support of many of the Grizzlies’ younger players, so his firing may widen a divide between the youngsters and the veterans on Memphis’ roster, says Deveney. The Sporting News scribe also observes that Fizdale is exactly the kind of positive coach and teacher a team would want during a rebuild, meaning the Grizzlies may miss him if they go in that direction.
- Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer lays out the case for why a full-fledged rebuild might make the most sense for the Grizzlies at this point.
- While much has been made of Gasol’s role in Fizdale’s firing, former NBA swingman and current ESPN analyst Stephen Jackson set his sights on Chandler Parsons. As AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today details, Jackson suggested that the lack of production the Grizzlies have received from a max-salary player like Parsons put Fizdale at a major disadvantage.