You probably read over the weekend that the whole Dave Joerger-to-the-Wolves thing that looked like a virtual done deal has turned into no deal, with the Grizzlies apparently deciding that giving away a 50-win coach isn't such a hot idea after all.
But that doesn't mean all is well in Memphis, no matter how much anyone wants to spin it. Per this SI.com piece from the weekend, the Grizzlies' owner is basically a younger hybrid of Dan Snyder, Jerry Jones and the ghost of George Steinbrenner. Robert Pera, the owner, apparently wanted to play against Tony Allen in a 1 on 1 game before the season. Things went downhill from there.
The problem? Allen had lost interest. Joerger, a first-year head coach, didn't like the idea of the game -- like many in the organization he found it goofy and unbecoming of a professional team, according to sources -- but it was Allen's indifference that caused it to be called off. Yet Pera directed his frustration at Joerger and, according to a source, directed upper management to fire him.
Said a source familiar with the situation, "He absolutely wanted Dave out."
Oh, but it gets better.
It was the first of several early season clashes between Joerger and Pera. When the Grizzlies opened the season 2-3 -- including double-digit defeats to Dallas and New Orleans -- Pera flew to Memphis and held individual meetings with players, sources say. He began offering bizarre suggestions. He suggested Mike Miller, a longtime Grizzlies player who was re-signed in the offseason, could become a player-coach. He brought up the idea that Joerger could wear an NFL-style headset and take instructions on the sideline. When the Grizzlies faced Golden State in early November, Pera insisted that Joerger give significant minutes to fourth-year power forward Ed Davis. Davis played just one. Again, according to sources, Pera insisted that Joerger had to go. Only after it was explained how dysfunctional the franchise would look if it fired a first year head coach six games into the season did Pera back down.
In any event, we're glad we never got too far down the road with our "Moves Like Joerger" tribute video.