Memphis Grizzlies star big man Marc Gasol and former head coach David Fizdale certainly did not get along well, according to recent reports.
While we already knew that the two men did not speak to each other after the loss on Sunday night before Fizdale was fired, this may have been a sign of something much bigger.
Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt reported that the dynamic between the two was “even worse than realized” (via USA TODAY Sports):
“Two people with knowledge of the situation say there was little-to-no communication between the two of them for the better part of the past 10 months, with the Sunday night benching in Brooklyn merely a tipping point in a situation that started to go sour quite some time ago.”
Gasol, 32, maintains that he “was shocked” by the decision to part ways with Fizdale and did not ask ownership to fire the head coach.
Matt Moore of CBS Sports writes that there were “irreconcilable differences” between Gasol and Fizdale and people around the league absolutely knew the two parties were not on speaking terms.
Was it that big of a surprise? After all, former Memphis head coach Dave Joerger also had tension with the big man.
Chris Herrington explained why it’s a challenge to coach Gasol (via Commercial Appeal):
“Gasol is an odd personality by the standards of NBA stars: moody, often brooding, an essentially cerebral player who struggles to harness his emotions, and a play-by-play perfectionist whose demands are often too much for everyone, including himself.”
While general manager Chris Wallace indicated the tension was a factor, it was not the main reason for the coach’s departure. Regardless, it’s telling of the culture of the team that the coach and star player had barely interacted for nearly a year.