Dave Joerger is no longer the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies after he was fired on Saturday morning. We’ve already noted how Joerger’s firing could actually work out for both the coach and the franchise, but there is still something a little fishy about the whole situation.
Joerger was, without a doubt, tremendously successful during his three seasons at the helm in Memphis, going 147-99 and making the playoffs each year. However, there was much going on behind the scenes that led to Joerger’s dismissal. Joerger had been seeking permission to interview for other head coaching jobs that were available in Sacramento, Houston, and Indiana, and that irked the powers that be in Memphis.
Joerger was somewhat justified in looking elsewhere, though, as he was only making $2 million in Memphis (he will assuredly make at least double that at least if he gets hired elsewhere) and didn’t feel secure in his position with the Grizzlies.
On the other hand, you can kind of see where Memphis is coming from, as they wouldn’t want to commit to someone who wasn’t committed to them. Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace did a Q&A after the firing and confirmed it was Joerger’s propensity to seek out other offers that partially led to his firing.
“The decision was made because I believe you need a deeply committed leadership team in order to establish the strong culture needed for sustainable long-term success,” Wallace said. “The decision was not about Dave’s in-game coaching. Dave did an admirable job managing games. However, being an NBA head coach is about more than just coaching a 48 minute game.”
Makes sense, but there is just one problem. If ESPN’s Marc Stein is to be believed, Wallace is a complete hypocrite, as he did the exact same thing as Joerger did.
That’s right, Wallace reportedly interviewed for an executive job before firing Joerger for doing the same thing. What’s worse is that his interview was with Sacramento, the same place that Joerger is now the favorite to get the vacant coaching position.
You would be hard-pressed to find a bigger example of hypocrisy anywhere in the NBA, and it is a really bad look for the Grizzlies organization. There may very well have been good reasons to let Joerger go (it looks like he didn’t really want to stay anyways), however, to publically state that commitment to the organization was a major concern when you are out there yourself taking interviews with other teams, is about as two-faced as you could get.