Thursday, September 22, 2016

CA's Jason Smith leaving to host 92.9 ESPN midday show

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 9:47 AM

Jason Smith - CA STAFF PHOTO
  • CA Staff Photo
  • Jason Smith

It seems that Memphis' midday sports radio drama has finally been resolved. After a contract dispute led to Chris Vernon's departure from 92.9 ESPN, the beloved radio host spent a couple of weeks in limbo before Bill Simmons announced earlier this week that his new web venture The Ringer had hired Vernon to host NBA and college football podcasts.

That solved the Vernon part of the equation, but it seems that this morning the other shoe has finally dropped. The Commercial Appeal is reporting that the CA's Tiger beat writer Jason Smith is leaving the paper to join 92.9 ESPN in the 11-2 timeslot previously held by The Chris Vernon Show.

Smith will host the show with 92.9's John Martin. His departure from the CA means they're now in the market for a new Tiger basketball beat writer with the season rapidly approaching, so one can assume the #FreeVerno conflagration will continue to affect the Memphis sports media landscape.

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Friday, September 2, 2016

Chris Vernon Out at 92.9 ESPN?

Posted By on Fri, Sep 2, 2016 at 11:32 AM

It appears that longtime local sports radio personality Chris Vernon is no longer employed by 92.9 ESPN. His show was removed from the schedule on the station’s website Friday morning, and Vernon later confirmed the story on Twitter:

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The Commercial Appeal reported that Vernon and the station were engaged in a contract dispute. Vernon’s show has been popular for years, and he played a role in the growing legend of the Grit & Grind Grizzlies by selling the original Tony Allen “All Heart Grit Grind” T-shirts back in 2011. More recently, Vernon has also appeared on Fox Sports’ television coverage of Grizzlies games.


No one at 92.9-FM would speak to the Flyer on the record. More on the story as it develops.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Grizzlies announce 2016 preseason schedule

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 1:02 PM

Zach Randolph's jersey number in this photo: also the maximum effort level he'll expend in a preseason game against the Sixers. - LARRY KUZNIEWSKI
  • Larry Kuzniewski
  • Zach Randolph's jersey number in this photo: also the maximum effort level he'll expend in a preseason game against the Sixers.

The Grizzlies have announced their 2016 preseason schedule, and it's not that much different from years past, except it's a six game schedule now:

  • October 3 - vs. Orlando Magic
  • October 6 - vs. Atlanta Hawks
  • October 11 - vs. Philadelphia 76ers
  • October 13 - @ OKC Thunder (played in Tulsa)
  • October 15 - at Houston Rockets
  • October 19 - at Minnesota Timberwolves

From what I understand, the Grizzlies are bound by their FedExForum lease to play more than 41 home games a year, so that limits the number of preseason games they're able to play at places that aren't the Forum. If they want to play a preseason game somewhere else, they've pretty much got to find another team willing to be the home team and host the game.

Hard to believe we've already got preseason schedules, but it'll probably also be the last real Grizzlies news for a while now that free agency is all over but the shouting (except for Lance Stephenson, I guess).


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Grizzlies announce 2016 Summer League roster

Posted By on Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 2:25 PM

The Grizzlies have announced their roster for the 2016 Las Vegas Summer League, and it's a fairly exciting group, and one that surprisingly contains JaMychal Green, who played more games than any other Grizzly last year (while fouling at an extremely elevated rate):

grizzlies_announce_nba_summer_league_2016_roster_7-5-16.png

I'm particularly excited to see Wade Baldwin, Deyonta Davis, and Andrew Harrison in action (even Summer League level action, where Josh Selby can become a co-MVP). Memphis Tiger fans will no doubt be heartened by the inclusion of Shaq Goodwin and DJ Stephens. Alex Stepheson made some noise for the Iowa Energy last season, and put up some ungodly offensive rebounding numbers in that one game before his Grizzlies 10-day ran out last year. It's an exciting group, in the way Summer League is always exciting: a chance to see the raw materials that may one day be major pieces of the Grizzlies' rotation.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Stein: Mike Conley agrees to 5-year, $153mm deal with Grizzlies

Posted By on Fri, Jul 1, 2016 at 6:15 PM

Mike Conley may be the most important player in this series for the Grizzlies. - LARRY KUZNIEWSKI
  • LARRY KUZNIEWSKI
  • Mike Conley may be the most important player in this series for the Grizzlies.

According to Marc Stein of ESPN, Mike Conley has agreed to return to the Grizzlies:

If those numbers hold true, it would make Conley's contract the highest in NBA history, a true reflection of the heights to which the NBA's salary cap has risen. Conley's five-year deal would be worth somewhere around $30mm more than the 5-year deal signed last summer by Marc Gasol.

It's not exactly a surprise that Conley is returning. Trades by Indiana and New York took the Pacers and Knicks out of the running to sign him, and once Dallas (1) missed on signing Hassan Whiteside and (2) lost Chandler Parsons (a noted friend of Conley's) to the Grizzlies thanks to recruitment by David Fizdale, JB Bickerstaff, Justin Timberlake, and maybe Conley himself in some way, they didn't seem like a likely landing place either. It was always a question of whether the Grizzlies would offer Conley a full five-year max, and even that never really seemed to be that much of a question.

To be sure, the Grizzlies still have major health concerns moving forward for Conley, Parsons, and Marc Gasol. But by re-signing Conley they've proven they're willing to spend to build a contender, and paid back Conley for years of service on a contract that made him one of the best values in the league. (You know, the one that Matt Moore called "franchise suicide" at the time.) (Sorry, Matt, I had to.)

Conley probably won't actually sign anything until after the Grizzlies have completed their free agent pursuits. The Grizzlies should still have somewhere in the vicinity of $8mm to $10mm in cap room assuming they've renounced their hold on Matt Barnes and/or waived Vince Carter via the stretch provision. My assumption is that they'd like to keep Carter around if possible, so Barnes is likely the one moving out of the way to make it possible for the Grizzlies to retain Conley and add Parsons. Either way, the Griz still need some kind of a shooting guard who can defend, as Tony Allen is currently the only guy on the roster who is a credible starter at the 2 spot. They should be able to take a gamble on a young guy with that money, or perhaps trade one of their burgeoning stockpile of young bigs for a wing player. Time will tell.

With Conley back in the fold and Parsons officially joining the team, the Grizzlies have radically changed the face of the franchise in the course of a few hours. In a summer when we knew everyone would be spending money, the Griz have taken a gamble on a future core that could take them very far.

Reports: Chandler Parsons agrees to four-year max deal with Grizzlies

Posted By on Fri, Jul 1, 2016 at 2:54 PM

Chandler Parsons - NBA.COM
  • NBA.com
  • Chandler Parsons

The Grizzlies have made a big splash on the first day of NBA free agency by landing wing Chandler Parsons, formerly of the Dallas Mavericks, on what appears to be a 4-year, $94mm deal. The move was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical and was quickly reported by others.

It's a big day for the Grizzlies. Even with the injury concerns surrounding Parsons—and make no mistake, there are certainly injury concerns—Parsons is the first big-name free agent (who wasn't already in Memphis) ever to choose the Grizzlies, unless you count Darko Milicic, which I do but no one else does. Parsons adds immediate offense to a wing rotation that has needed it desperately for years. I think my preference still would've been for Nic Batum, but I (along with the rest of Grizzlies media) didn't really have Parsons on my radar until the last couple of weeks, when we started to hear rumblings from the Griz that they planned on targeting Parsons.

Is there a chance that Parsons can't stay healthy? Sure. But there's also a chance Gasol and Conley can't stay healthy. Assuming—as ESPN's Marc Stein has reported—that Conley had a part to play in the Grizzlies' recruitment of Parsons, his return seems like a fait accompli at this point, but let's not count those chickens until they hatch.

For the first time ever, the Grizzlies had max cap space while they were also a playoff team, and they made it pay off. It also sounds like new head coach David Fizdale and his associate JB Bickerstaff also played a large role in the Parsons recruitment. Things are starting to trend upward for the Grizzlies in terms of (1) the caliber of player they're starting to be able to sign, starting with Vince Carter and (2) the reputation of their coaching staff among players around the league. As one Griz source pointed out to me, also, Parsons has spent a lot of his career in Houston and Dallas playing against (and finishing lower in the Southwest standings than) Grizzlies teams that went deeper into the playoffs.

Assuming Conley re-signs, the Grizzlies are now in a good position to retool for the future around a new rotation. Even if he doesn't, I guess, at least they finally got a wing who can score. According to reports, Conley is meeting with the Mavericks right now, so we'll see what happens there and report as news happens.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Grizzlies select Wade Baldwin in first round

Posted By on Thu, Jun 23, 2016 at 8:42 PM

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The Grizzlies have selected point guard Wade Baldwin from Vanderbilt with the 17th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Baldwin has size, he has wingspan for days, he shot 40% from 3 in college, and he adds point guard depth to a roster that needed it even assuming Mike Conley isn't going anywhere.

After days of wondering who was telling the truth about whether or not the Grizzlies had promised to select Malachi Richardson, several more highly-regarded players fell to the Grizzlies (others included Timothe Luwawu and Skal Labissiere) and they went with Baldwin, whose upside may not be quite as high as some others, but who is a solid, proven player with an established skill set.

As the Grizzlies transition to the Fizdale era, player development is more important than it's ever been. This pick, like all of the ones before it, is meaningless if Baldwin doesn't get minutes on the floor in which to learn the ins and outs of the NBA game. Hopefully we can take the Grizzlies at their word that player development is a focus, because if so, the selection of Baldwin puts them in a position to have a very good backup to Conley (along with 2015 draftee Andrew Harrison) in the near future.


Deflections: The Draft, Mike Conley, and Depleted Narratives

Posted By on Thu, Jun 23, 2016 at 11:44 AM

Now that the NBA season is actually, officially over, and the draft is upon us—like, tonight upon us—it's time to start what is intended to be a weekly update on the Grizzlies during the dog days of summer, using a name that Chris Herrington made up a long time ago: Deflections. Our first installment comes in three parts, about something happening tonight, something happening in the next week or two, and something that's going to have to evolve over the next year or two.

The Draft

Chris Wallace promises he doesn't make promises.
  • Chris Wallace promises he doesn't make promises.

It's tonight. I don't watch much college basketball, I don't scout these guys very far beyond their Draft Express videos (you know, the ones that make every prospect look like some kind of mutant Kareem/LeBron combo and like some kind of mutant Thabeet/Adam Morrison combo), and I'm not really sure what the Grizzlies are actually going to do tonight. With all of that said, I do think it's worth thinking about where the Grizzlies stand going into tonight.

The Grizzlies have the 17th pick tonight, since they made the playoffs and avoided conveying it to the Denver Nuggets. There are reports that they've promised to take Malachi Richardson from Syracuse if he's available, reports that sound similar to the promise they supposedly made to Jarell Martin before selecting him next year. Without parsing what a "soft promise" is and re-litigating the Twitter firestorm that broke out over the Martin promise last year, I will say two things: (1) I feel like these reports usually come from agents, and it's hard to parse what an agent considers to be a "promise" and whether such a thing is actually intended by the front office person supposedly making it. But also, (2) Chris Wallace has been followed by reports of making promises for a long time:

And even though Wallace denies having ever made a promise while in Memphis, who knows. Whether he did or not, sometimes perception is reality in these situations, and promising (or at least perpetually saying things that sound like promises to agents, who then tell the media) seems like a weird way to do business.

The bad news is that if Richardson is chosen at 17 by the Grizzlies, we get to have the same dumb Internet arguments again. The other bad news is that if Richardson is chosen at 17 by the Grizzlies, there may be other players they should have taken—international mystery man Timothe Luwawu, Vanderbilt PG Wade Baldwin, and others are all projected to be drafted somewhere in the 14-20 range, and who knows. The draft is such a crapshoot it's hard to know who will be productive and who won't, and if the Grizzlies pull another "Jordan Adams over Rodney Hood" and take a guy who looks like the better player on paper but doesn't work out, it's going to be a setback in their attempts to get younger.

All this is to say: the NBA Draft is like a dark art where nothing is precise, sometimes the "right" pick is actually the wrong pick, the Grizzlies historically don't draft well, might be going about it the wrong way (making promises), and might even try to trade out of 17 (though I haven't heard anything specific in terms of intel along those lines). We will all sit down to watch it together, and make instant decisions about the entire process before the end of the night, and some of us will be disastrously wrong, and some of us will be right for the wrong reasons, and then we'll get to argue about it some more. Sports!

On Derrick Rose and Jeff Teague.

Mike Conley: 140 Million Dollar Man? - NBA.COM
  • NBA.com
  • Mike Conley: 140 Million Dollar Man?

Mike Conley's free agency options are starting to dwindle. Or, maybe, teams who might have otherwise considered pursuing Conley in free agency this summer have decided to move on because they don't think he's attainable. Depending on your outlook, both are valid ways to read the trades made yesterday sending Jeff Teague to Indiana and Derrick Rose to the Knicks—both teams mentioned in connection with Conley's free agency as possible suitors.

Conley's almost certainly going to get a max contract from someone. Maybe Dallas will pitch him on it. The Spurs have been mentioned as a possible destination as they search for a Tony Parker replacement. But the two other teams in the race, including the one in his hometown, have decided to seek other options and trade for a point guard.

If the Grizzlies sign Mike Conley to a full five-year max deal, they'll almost certainly be overpaying for him. He's a good player, but he's approaching 30, has had trouble staying healthy for the last two or three seasons, has had to shoulder an unfairly heavy burden of minutes because if the Grizzlies' smoldering ash pit of backup point guards, and may already be starting to decline from his peak. That said, if they don't re-sign him, what's the point of keeping Marc Gasol? Of keeping Zach Randolph and Tony Allen? If the Grizzlies don't retain Conley, they'll almost certainly be headed down a path of teardown and rebuild, something they want to avoid by rebuilding a new supporting cast around Conley and Gasol as Randolph and Tony Allen begin to fade away.

I'm not sure whether yesterday's trades are good news or bad news for Grizzlies fans. The optimistic take is that these teams don't think they've got a shot at prying Conley away from the Grizzlies, so they've moved on to find a point guard through other means before free agency even starts. The pessimistic take is that these teams have decided that maxing Conley isn't worth it and are trying to fill their point guard need some other way. I wouldn't be surprised if the truth is in the middle; I still think Conley will be in a Grizzlies uniform in the fall, and I think it's going to take a max contract to make that happen, and I think that's too much money and also think it'll probably the right thing to do.

I believe the dictionary term is "ambivalent." That's how I feel about the whole thing, especially in light of the Pacers and Knicks essentially removing themselves from the Conley conversation before it starts.

Still Gritting, Still Grinding?

This was 2011. I still have no idea what a "Norma Rae moment" is.
  • This was 2011. I still have no idea what a "Norma Rae moment" is.

How are we going to talk about this team now that we've said everything there is to say about "Grit and Grind"? That's a conversation I've had recently with two or three different people who write about basketball. We can talk about Memphis as a pro wrestling town and the Grizzlies as a team that plays to that, but Herrington already did that a couple of years ago. We can talk about how the blue-collar team and the blue collar town complement each other, but we've been doing that since 2011. We can talk about toughness, about being overlooked, about being counted out and fighting back against overwhelming odds, but we've done all of that, too. Six consecutive playoff runs with (essentially) the same core personnel means we've explored this team, the Core Four version of it anyway (maybe it's the "Mt. Grizzmore" version?), in about as much depth as is possible.

So what do we talk about next year? In David Fizdale, they've got a coach who represents a clean break with the past—Lionel coached under Hubie way back when, and Joerger coached under Lionel. On the flipside, Chris Wallace has apparently shored up his position as the lead basketball decision-maker, and he's been here for what seems like an eternity. Organizationally, there still doesn't seem to be a very clear picture of the hierarchy, of who makes what calls, of how anything works. Even though they seem to have made mostly good decisions in that time, the lack of clarity makes them hard to analyze, and I'm not sure that's an accident.

There will be new faces on the roster next year, no question. Whoever gets drafted this year will be expected to develop into a rotation player. The Grizzlies have to sign someone to start on the wing next year, and maybe even be the third-best player on the team. Tony Allen and Zach Randolph are still here (though both are in contract years), but what will their role be now? Will they accept the diminished reponsibility that almost certainly seems to be headed their way? What will this team look like? How will we talk about it?

We're right at the precipice of entering a new era of Memphis Grizzlies history, even as the team stresses its continuity. We're going to have to find new things to talk about. The old stories are exhausted by now, and Memphis is a town that clings to its old stories like they're a source of life. We venerate the past here, even as we tear it down and run roads through it. It's a trap, a collective weakness for former greatness. And yet, a basketball team is a fluid thing. Faces change over time. People will be talking about Zach Randolph and Tony Allen for the rest of time in this town, but now we're going to have to find a new story to tell, a new language to use, a narrative that isn't depleted of the vitality that made it so important in the first place.

Grit & Grind is dead. Long live Grit & Grind. Now, please, please, please come up with something else to put on a t-shirt.


Friday, June 3, 2016

Beyond the Arc Podcast, #54: Offseason Preview

Posted By on Fri, Jun 3, 2016 at 1:39 PM

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This week on the show, Kevin and Phil talk about:

  • David Fizdale is hiring his staff. Is his goal to get the Grizzlies to the playoffs? Is that within his control?
  • Can Gasol and Conley stay healthy for a full season next year?
  • Are we confident the Grizzlies can find talent with the 17th pick?
  • Will the Grizzlies bring Lance Stephenson back on his team option, and if not, will they try to bring him back at all?
  • Playing devil's advocate: who plays PG if Conley leaves?
  • A rundown of some free agents who the Grizzlies could look at.

The Beyond the Arc podcast is available on iTunes, so you can subscribe there! It'd be great if you could rate and review the show while you're there. You can also find and listen to the show on Stitcher and on PlayerFM.

The Beyond the Arc podcast will return next season. Thanks for listening.

You can download the show here or listen below:


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Beyond the Arc Podcast, #53: Fizdale Quick Take

Posted By on Thu, May 26, 2016 at 8:41 PM

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This week on the show, Kevin and Phil talk about:

  • Would David Fizdale be a good hire?
  • How much of a factor is player development if Mike Conley stays with the Grizzlies?
  • Is Fizdale hire a sign that Conley is leaving?
  • Woj breaks the Fizdale news while we are recording
  • Will Mike Brown be on Fizdale's staff?
  • What does a new coach mean for what the Grizzlies will do next year offensively? Is "Grit & Grind" dead?
  • Does a Fizdale hire mean Chalmers will be back?

The Beyond the Arc podcast is available on iTunes, so you can subscribe there! It'd be great if you could rate and review the show while you're there. You can also find and listen to the show on Stitcher and on PlayerFM.

You can call our Google Voice number and leave us a voicemail, and we might talk about your question on the next show: 234-738-3394

You can download the show here or listen below:


Reports: David Fizdale hired as Grizzlies head coach

Posted By on Thu, May 26, 2016 at 12:31 PM

David Fizdale - NBA.COM
  • NBA.com
  • David Fizdale

Adrian Wojarowski of The Vertical is reporting that Miami Heat assistant (and director of player development) David Fizdale has agreed to a four-year deal to become the next head coach of the Grizzlies.

Fizdale comes highly touted (as discussed by Chris Herrington earlier this morning) as a good communicator, a well-liked "player's coach", and he has a reputation as being a good coach for player development—something with which the Grizzlies have struggled for the past several seasons.

I'll have more on this news tomorrow, but my immediate, gut-level reaction is this: you never know what kind of head coach an assistant is going to be. My personal preference might have been for someone who is more of an "X's and O's" guru, someone to be the overall strategist, but communication is important, and player development is absolutely critical to the future success of the Grizzlies, whether Mike Conley returns this summer or not. I think this hire shows that they Grizzlies are thinking strategically about where they are and where they're going, at least at the coaching level.

As I wrote in my column in this week's Flyer, this is only one of three big things the Grizzlies need to get right this summer, and each one is important to being a competitive team next year. I think this is a step in the right direction, with the caveat that Fizdale is untested. As for the rest, and for what this hire means for the Grizzlies' long-term plans... more on that to come.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Beyond the Arc Podcast, #52: Head Coach Hullabaloo

Posted By on Fri, May 13, 2016 at 6:36 AM

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This week on the show, Kevin and Phil talk about:

  • Last week's Lost Episode
  • What was the Grizzlies' motivation for letting Dave Joerger go?
  • Are the Grizzlies really disorganized? What about the successful season of moves they just had?
  • This is a make or break summer for the Grizzlies' front office.
  • Will Joerger make it with the Sacramento Kings? Can he keep DeMarcus Cousins happy?
  • Will Scott Skiles be considered for the Grizzlies' head coaching job? Who else?
  • Would David Blatt be a bad hire?

The Beyond the Arc podcast is available on iTunes, so you can subscribe there! It'd be great if you could rate and review the show while you're there. You can also find and listen to the show on Stitcher and on PlayerFM.

You can call our Google Voice number and leave us a voicemail, and we might talk about your question on the next show: 234-738-3394

You can download the show here or listen below:


Monday, May 9, 2016

What Now? The Grizzlies After Dave Joerger

Posted By on Mon, May 9, 2016 at 11:03 AM

LARRY KUZNIEWSKI
  • Larry Kuzniewski

The dust has settled a little bit after Saturday morning’s dismissal of Dave Joerger as the Grizzlies’ head coach, but I’m not sure we know much more than we did in those first few frantic hours on Saturday after the news started breaking. This morning, Adrian Wojnarowski has some news about the Grizzlies’ candidate list, though Woj’s list is conspicuously missing Mark Jackson, whose name was reported other places.

Here's what I think about the whole thing, after another day and a half to sit and think about it.

Who’s Running The Show?

One thing this weekend taught us is that the Grizzlies, rightly or wrongly, still haven’t managed to put the past behind them. The PR barrage the Griz took when Jason Levien and Stu Lash were sent packing after the 2013–14 still sticks with them, locally and nationally, as there was a great deal of Internet Speculation about the internal workings of the Grizzlies organization and a great deal of hand-wringing about whether the Grizzlies were such a disaster internally that they wouldn’t be able to find a quality replacement for Joerger.

The truth of the matter is complex. The Grizzlies’ party line is still that Chris Wallace is running the show, that he makes the decisions and presents them to ownership, and that there’s a very clear hierarchy in the basketball ops side of the franchise. The Basketball Twitter Rumor Mill dark timeline (which has even been promulgated by folks like Marc Stein at times) is that Grizzlies “Director” Joe Abadi makes the decisions, and that everyone else jockeys for position like in the Heisley days, when there were different factions in basketball management pushing different strategies and Heisley would decide. Or, sometimes, he’d just pick Hasheem Thabeet because he wanted to, no matter what anyone else wanted to do.

Honestly, I don’t know what the truth is. Most people in the organization seem to support the “official position,” but then, isn’t that in their best interests? Are the voices that say otherwise disgruntled, or telling the truth? I don’t know. And I don’t have enough evidence one way or another to make some kind of definitive statement about How Grizzlies Basketball Ops Really Works. I think that’s the way most NBA teams are, really. Each person in an organization has his or her own mental model of how that organization functions, and they can be vastly different from one another.

What is becoming apparent as the coaching search kicks into gear is that Wallace (and Ed Stefanski) seem to be in the driver’s seat. The lists of candidates we’ve seen—from Wojnarowski, from Ron Tillery at the Commercial Appeal, and from other places—seem to be “Wallace” lists. They fit with the kinds of guys I think Wallace would be interested in hiring.



Continue reading »

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Dave Joerger out as Grizzlies head coach

Posted By on Sat, May 7, 2016 at 10:02 AM

LARRY KUZNIEWSKI
  • Larry Kuzniewski

As first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, Dave Joerger was fired as the Grizzlies' head coach on Saturday morning after seeking permission to interview for the head coaching vacancy in Sacramento.

To those of you who have been paying attention all year long, this probably isn't much of a surprise.

For starters, it marks the second time in three seasons that Joerger sought permission to interview for another vacancy—the first being the Minnesota Timberwolves' opening after the 2013-14 season. Given that this is an extremely critical summer for the Grizzlies—Mike Conley's free agency looms large, for one thing, but there are also several other roster spots that will need to be filled, and a real need to develop a new generation of young players to fill in around (presumably returning) Conley and Marc Gasol—it's not hard to understand that a guy who wants to be somewhere else probably isn't the guy to move forward with.

That's not to say that Joerger isn't a good coach, or that he didn't do a good job with the Grizzlies. To me, this is all about the relationship he's had with the front office—starting the season calling the roster bad, and "making himself hard to work with" (the words of one Grizzlies staffer earlier in the season) behind closed doors. As the roster started to be torn apart by injuries to Gasol, Conley, Brandan Wright, and others, the tension seemed to fade, and everyone seemed to be pulling in the same direction, relentlessly positive in the face of overwhelming adversity.

That was all undone at the Grizzlies' final media availability after they were eliminated by the Spurs. Less than 24 hours after shedding tears about how hard his players fought, Joerger was back to making comments about "the management" choosing the roster, and even said he'd be taking a vacation until July 1 and wouldn't have any input into the drafting process.

I'm not saying that's why he got fired—I think he got fired because he made it clear he didn't want to coach the Grizzlies anymore, and was trying to find another gig, and there are few things worse than a lame duck coach on the last year of his contract who doesn't want to return. It was in the best interests of the Grizzlies' 2016-17 season that Joerger be let go now.

There are good coaches available now. Frank Vogel, for one, and I wouldn't be surprised to hear some names we've heard before in connection with Grizzlies coaching in the Pera era. (That's me being vague on purpose.) It was already going to be an interesting summer, and now it got even more interesting.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Beyond the Arc Podcast, #50: Playoff Reflections

Posted By on Tue, Apr 26, 2016 at 6:22 AM

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This week on the show, Kevin and Phil talk about:

  • The end of the Grizzlies' season, as they got eliminated by the San Antonio Spurs (again).
  • Dave Joerger got emotional in his presser after the game, and good on him.
  • The West playoffs would've been much different with a healthy Grizzlies.
  • A look at the other series still going on.
  • And much more, as we get ready to record our final episodes of the 2015-16 season.

The Beyond the Arc podcast is available on iTunes, so you can subscribe there! It'd be great if you could rate and review the show while you're there. You can also find and listen to the show on Stitcher and on PlayerFM.

You can call our Google Voice number and leave us a voicemail, and we might talk about your question on the next show: 234-738-3394

You can download the show here or listen below:


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