The Memphis Grizzlies were negotiating with assistant Dave Joerger to become their next coach, a person familiar with the situation told the Associated Press. ESPN.com first reported the negotiations.
This would be Joerger’s first NBA head coaching job. A native of Staples, Minn., who played at what was then known at Moorhead State, Joerger had been an assistant the past six seasons with the Grizzlies under coach Marc Iavaroni and later Lionel Hollins, whose contract was not renewed earlier this month despite leading Memphis to a 56-26 record and a Western Conference finals appearance.
Keeping Joerger would help the Grizzlies maintain some continuity in the locker room with Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Zach Randolph. He was the lead assistant coach and helped coordinate a defense that helped Memphis allow a league-low 89.3 points per game this season.
Joerger also won five minor league championships. He led the Dakota Wizards to the 2007 NBA Development League title, an International Basketball Association title and three in the Continental Basketball Association. His record of 232-117 as a coach also includes two CBA Coach of the Year awards.
Joerger steps into a challenging situation. This franchise had never won a playoff series before 2011 with Hollins, and the Grizzlies knocked off two No. 1 seeds in the postseason with him as coach.
After weeks of negotiations and intrigue, Doc Rivers officially left the Boston Celtics for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Rivers will be introduced as the Clippers’ new coach and senior vice president of basketball operations Wednesday, capping a lengthy process by completing a rare trade involving a championship-winning coach.
The Clippers and Celtics finalized the move when the NBA approved the deal. Boston will get an unprotected first-round pick in 2015 from the Clippers for Rivers, who went 416-305 and won the 2008 NBA title during nine seasons with the Celtics.
Boston’s front office mostly had warm words for Rivers, who was apparently not eager to stick around for the aging Celtics’ rebuilding process.
“We don’t have a championship without Doc Rivers coaching,” said Danny Ainge, Celtics president of basketball operations. “He did an unbelievable job.”
Los Angeles also spoke to Boston about acquiring star forward Kevin Garnett in another element of the trade, but NBA Commissioner David Stern won’t allow teams to trade active players for a coach.
Garnett and Paul Pierce won’t be reuniting with Rivers in Los Angeles any time soon: Ainge said the NBA has forbidden player trades between the two teams for the rest of the year, and both aging stars are under contract for next season.
• NBA Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith informed the Knicks he will decline the option for next season and become a free agent.
• The Sacramento Kings extended a qualifying offer to guard Tyreke Evans, making him a restricted free agent.