Former Grizzlies coach David Fizdale believes Marc Gasol is getting too much blame for his dismissal in Memphis, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. Fizdale, who was introduced Tuesday as the new coach of the Knicks, had a rocky relationship with Gasol during his brief stay with the Grizzlies, but says there were other issues involved.
“We had some moments I pushed too hard,’’ Fizdale admitted. “I probably should’ve done more research and spent more time to getting to know the person, knowing what ticks and what doesn’t tick and how to get through to him. … I did a lot of things wrong. I was a rookie coach. I screwed up timeouts, when to call timeouts. I made bad subs. … I don’t want to blame [Gasol] for getting me fired. I don’t think that’s fair.’’
Memphis had six straight playoff appearances before Fizdale arrived last season. He took the team to the postseason again, losing in the first round, but was let go in November after a 7-12 start. Berman notes that Knicks president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry did extensive interviews with many of Fizdale’s former players and employers before deciding to hire him.
There’s more from the Southwest Division:
- Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace believes the combination of events that affected the team this year sets it up well for the future, relays Michael Wallace of NBA.com. Memphis’ season soured early when Mike Conley suffered a heel injury that limited him to 12 games. Now the organization has proven veterans to build around, along with a high lottery pick. “I think we’re going to be good next year,” Wallace said. “It’s rare to have a team that’s been in the playoffs for seven straight years, still have their key players coming back and several more years of productive play in front of them and get a chance to make a top five pick.”
- The Mavericks are ahead of schedule in their investigation into alleged workplace misconduct, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Chief executive officer Cynthia Marshall said most of the scheduled interviews have been completed and the process could wrap up by the end of the month. The coaching staff was the latest group to complete a 3 1/2-hour diversity training session. “I thought it was great,” said head coach Rick Carlisle. “There was a lot of good discussion about the world we live in. I think every company ought to have it.”
- A day after being eliminated from the playoffs, Pelicans owner Gayle Benson released a statement congratulating the players for their success and emphasizing her commitment to “building a team that could compete for championships,” relays William Guillory of The New Orleans Times-Picayune.