The situation in Memphis the past few weeks has been one stunning revelation after another. After the organization’s rash decision to part ways with head coach David Fizdale amid a brutal losing streak, hints about broader underlying issues have been steadily trickling in.
All-Star center Marc Gasol didn’t hide his displeasure after his now-infamous fourth-quarter benching against the Nets last month — a direct precursor to Fizdale’s ouster — and it wasn’t long after that he admitted his relationship with his coach was much dicier than anyone suspected.
But that wasn’t Gasol’s only beef. As it turns out, the former Defensive Player of the Year wasn’t happy about the franchise letting both Zach Randolph and Tony Allen leave in free agency last summer.
Perhaps the only other revelation in Gasol’s latest interview was that he believes the franchise broke up the “core four” too soon.
“I didn’t understand the why,” Gasol said.
Zach Randolph left for Sacramento, and Tony Allen signed with New Orleans. Both players were unrestricted free agents last summer, and the Grizzlies didn’t offer either a contract.
“Zach and Tony being gone has been more difficult than you guys can see on the floor,” Gasol said.
Their departure undoubtedly marked the unofficial end of the Grit-N-Grind Grizzlies, and the organization can certainly be forgiven for not wanting to tie up cap space with a pair of aging veterans whose respective skill-sets are on the wrong side of the NBA’s pendulum swing.
Still, that decision was little more than a half-measure, as the front office obviously doesn’t have a clear vision for how they want to move forward. Gasol has said publicly that he’d be open to a trade, but GM Chris Wallace has remained steadfast in his claim that they have no interest in moving either him or Mike Conley.
Yet the Grizzlies brass could very well be poised for a shake-up of their own. The board of directors isn’t thrilled with the way things have been handled, and there have been rumors that the they could force owner Robert Pera to sell the team, which would inevitably result in an organization-wide management restructuring.
The short-term outlook isn’t so rosy in Memphis, and with the way things have gone lately, what happens next is anyone’s guess.
(Via The Commercial Appeal)