HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — The Memphis Grizzlies fired head coach Dave Joerger Saturday morning.
Joerger seemingly did a fantastic job with an injury-depleted roster in the second half of the season, dragging it to the playoffs, where the Grizzlies were swept by the San Antonio Spurs. But Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Grizzlies didn’t like that Joerger was seeking a job elsewhere …
After months of internal acrimony, the Memphis Grizzlies fired coach Dave Joerger on Saturday morning, league sources told The Vertical.
For the second time in three years, Joerger and his agent had sought Memphis’ permission to speak to other teams about head-coaching openings, league sources said.
As it became clearer that Joerger wanted a more lucrative contract and a fresh start elsewhere, Grizzlies management cut ties with him. Memphis is starting its search immediately, and former Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel is expected to get considerable attention in the early stages of the process, sources said.
Joerger went 147-99 in three seasons with Memphis after taking over for Lionel Hollins. The Grizzlies had top-10 defenses in his first two seasons, got to the conference semifinals last year, and had a 2-1 series lead over the eventual champion Golden State Warriors. But they ranked 15th defensively before Marc Gasol got hurt in early February and finished as a below average team on both ends of the floor for the first time in six years.
The Grizzlies are the 10th team (and the third playoff team) this offseason to make a coaching change, though the Phoenix Suns hired interim Earl Watson as their head coach.
There are currently five job openings.
Wojnarowski reports that Joerger could be heading to Sacramento …
Despite Sacramento’s inherent dysfunction, the Kings’ willingness to give Joerger a significant long-term contract – likely in the $4 million range annually – is a strong allure for a coach who spent 10 years making modest money in basketball’s minor leagues, league sources said.
Joerger had been seeking permission to speak to the Kings and Houston Rockets, league sources said.