While a Memphis Commercial Appeal story a couple of weeks ago made it sounds as if Joerger’s job was as safe as anybody’s on this list, there were sentiments even before the team’s rough start that ownership wasn’t completely in love with their head coach. Joerger did push for the Mario Chalmers trade, which for some reason was a catalyst in vaulting the Grizzlies back into contention, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s safe long-term.
So what about that situation? That team? There are many in Memphis that refuse to believe Conley could go anywhere. He was instrumental in recruiting Marc Gasol to return last summer and there are those that believe he would never have pushed so hard if he was planning on exiting a year later. “Me and Marc, he knows if I call him two times in two weeks and he is in Spain, that’s a lot,” Conley said. “That’s something very important to me. I stayed in contact, checking in on him. When it came down to it, I told him ‘We’re not going anywhere if you’re not here.’ I hoped he would make the right decision, and he did.” Said Gasol, “Mike [being in Memphis] was big. I will go through any type of wall for that guy.”
Storyline: Mike Conley Free Agency
Make no mistake: Conley doesn’t feel indebted to Memphis, to Gasol. He loves the city, loves the fans, loves his teammates, but he knows what this game is all about. Players are pawns, and when opportunities to take some control come up, you have to take them. “It’s easy to feel obligated; it’s easy to want to stay,” Conley said. “This is where I’ve had my whole career. At the same time I understand this is a business. I have to weigh my options just like [Gasol] did. Hopefully it will be an easy decision, whatever it is.”