Barry Hecker Rumors
Former Grizzlies assistant coach Barry Hecker has finally had his say. Hecker recently used The Sporting News to slam Griz coach Dave Joerger and explain his abrupt dismissal from the Grizzlies last season during their Western Conference semifinals series against the Oklahoma series. You can read thearticle here, but many people involved in the situation will take issue with his accounts although none of them find it worthwhile to publicly respond.
Hollins and Hecker remain associates despite the incident even though Hollins repeatedly had to scold Hecker for various acts deemed unprofessional by most in the organization. Yes, it is true that Hecker and Joerger never got along because of Hecker’s distrust of Joerger. Hollins even threatened to fire both years ago if they didn’t work out their differences. And, yes, it is true that Joerger hasn’t attempted to speak with Hollins since the end of last season.
Joerger didn’t speak with Hollins while Hollins was fighting for his job. Joerger didn’t speak with Hollins while Joerger was a candidate for the job. It is safe to say that Hollins and Joerger are no longer buddies in the coaching profession or otherwise.
Everyone in the organization reviewed video footage of Hecker’s encounter with that Thunder fan and was disturbed by Hecker’s actions. The fan was a big-time attorney whom Hollins eventually called to apologize for the incident. Thunder general manager Sam Presti couldn’t have been more grateful to Hollins for the gesture.
Here’s what I know: In the immediate aftermath, former Griz coach Lionel Hollins expected Hecker to return and was blindsided when Hecker went to human resources. Griz management (namely Mincberg) made the decision to terminate Hecker once he involved an attorney.
“Why would you hire a guy with no wins in the NBA and get rid of another guy who took you to 56 wins?” Hecker said. “Just from a strict business standpoint, why? They were afraid of Lionel, because they couldn’t control Lionel. … Joerger, because he had worked it so hard, they felt comfortable with him. They said they didn’t need Lionel, they could just hire (Joerger). He was taking all the credit, basically, anyway.”
Hecker also frequently butted heads with fellow assistant coach Dave Joerger, whom Hecker felt was angling for Hollins’ job. Grizzlies officials would not comment directly on the record about the matter, but a source did say that Joerger, worried about the perception that he would be named successor to Hollins (who was in the final year of his contract), made an effort to distance himself from the perception that he wanted the head-coaching job. Hecker disagreed. “I told Lionel two years ago, I said, ‘Lionel, this (guy) is going to get your job one day if you don’t watch yourself,’” Hecker said.