Dave Joerger Rumors
A recent ESPN.com article even suggested that Griz coach Dave Joerger is on the hot seat, a candidate to be fired early this season because Memphis has trailed by 20-plus points for 62 minutes over the first six games. The Griz operated from a 20-point deficit for a total of 88 minutes during the entire 2014-15 season. Wallace defended his coach. “When things aren’t going well, there’s always a lot of noise from the outside,” Wallace said. “You can’t let it permeate the air you’re breathing as a team. You just have to keep your head down and do what you’ve done in the past to be successful. “I don’t see Dave on the hot seat. We’re six games into the season. We’re struggling right now, but Dave’s a proven commodity and he’s got a talented staff.”
Yet it’s the manner of the three defeats, sources say, that has led to fears within the organization that owner Robert Pera won’t wait long to make a drastic change. The Grizzlies lost their home opener to the Cavs by 30, got blitzed soon thereafter by Cleveland’s conquerors in the NBA Finals by an unfathomable 50, then fell behind by 26 points in the Pacific Northwest before settling for a 19-point defeat to the Blazers.
The biggest source of vulnerability for Joerger, of course, is the fact that Pera has internally questioned his leadership in the past and so nearly fired him once before, only to patch things up in a stunning about-face in May 2014 when Joerger, deep in talks with the Minnesota Timberwolves, got a new three-year contract. Another potential complication: Pera is known to be a huge fan of Tom Thibodeau, has pursued him before and could be moved to make a run at Thibs before someone else does.
But there’s likewise no ignoring the whispers we’re hearing about finger-pointing between the bench and management. Pera, I’m told, wants to see young guard Jordan Adams get an opportunity and hasn’t forgotten that Hassan Whiteside got cut twice by the Grizzlies before Thanksgiving a year ago before going to Miami and emerging as one of the league’s young breakout forces. Dismay around town about the Grizzlies’ substitution patterns and lack of offensive creativity is bubbling anew.