After the Memphis Grizzlies shockingly fired head coach David Fizdale, expect more shakeups from the rebuilding team and around the NBA.
Fizdale was fired just four weeks after Memphis had the best record in the NBA. But it’s not all that surprising for a team to favor a player over a coach. The episode with Gasol “contributed heavily” to his dismissal, according to one report.
This is their third coaching change since they made the Western Conference Finals in 2013.
Everyone says Fizdale and Gasol had issues. I'd like to know what those issues were. Every Griz fan should as well.
— david b. thorpe (@coachthorpe) 27 ноября 2017 г.
JB Bickerstaff will take over as the interim head coach of the Grizzlies. Bickerstaff previously served as an interim head coach for the Houston Rockets during the 2015-16 season.
He joins Alvin Gentry, Jay Triano and Lionel Hollins as one of the few coaches to serve an interim role on multiple occasions.
Jared Weiss believes Bickerstaff may finally have found a landing spot (via USA TODAY Sports Media Group):
“Bickerstaff is also beloved by players and one of those next-big-coach guys, so if Memphis is confident he’s their next guy, making the move now makes sense.”
His assistant coach, Keith Smart, could be the next to go as the two have worked together since coaching for the Golden State Warriors during the 2003-04 season.
Meanwhile, many teams around the league will likely pursue Fizdale. He was an assistant coach for the Miami Heat from 2008 until 2016 and has ties to many within the organization.
Head coach Erik Spoelstra has “retained a vacancy” on the staff for the franchise. It’s possible he could become another candidate for a position with the Heat. Miami big man Hassan Whiteside has tweeted his support for Fizdale.
Former Heat players not happy about former Heat assistant coach Dave Fizdale getting fired in Memphis. Fiz was a bridge between players and Spoelstra and highly regarded for basketball acumen.
— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) 27 ноября 2017 г.
Another option is a potential gig with the Cavaliers considering he has an established connection to head coach Ty Lue, who he coached while with the Atlanta Hawks.
Fizdale coached LeBron James and we’ve learned over the years that James likes working with familiar faces. He and current teammate Dwyane Wade both tweeted they were upset with the decision in Memphis.
Larry Drew, the associate head coach for the Cavaliers, was also an assistant coach with Fitzdale when the two were on the coaching staff in Atlanta.
There are multiple teams for whom David Fizdale would be an instant upgrade over their current Head Coach
— Mike Zavagno (@MZavagno11) 27 ноября 2017 г.
It’s entirely possible that he could take over as head coach for one of the other struggling teams in the league as well. For example, Fred Hoiberg (Chicago Bulls) and Doc Rivers (Los Angeles Clippers) may not last at their current post.
Mike Woodson, now an assistant for the Clippers, was the head coach for Fizdale in Atlanta. Jim Boylen, the associate head coach for the Bulls, was an assistant with Fizdale for the Warriors.