Updates from Tuesday, May 27
The Grizzlies released a statement on head coach Dave Joerger's contract extension. Owner Robert Pera spoke about the deal:
I am excited to announce that we have reached an agreement to extend Dave Joerger as the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies,” Controlling Owner Robert Pera said. “Following an open and honest dialogue with Dave, it became clear that Dave was fully committed to Memphis and we are committed to him. I look forward to seeing Dave build upon the foundation he helped establish over the last seven years, and we are both committed to bringing a championship to Memphis.
The report also features comments from Joerger:
I am absolutely thrilled to continue as the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies for years to come,” Joerger said. “I want to thank Robert Pera for believing in me. I look forward to building on the success we experienced this year with our core group of players that I have worked closely with over the past seven years as we work towards our ultimate goal of winning a world championship. I am 100 percent committed to leading the Grizzlies and I could not be more proud to call Memphis home.
The radio voice of the Memphis Grizzlies, Eric Hasseltine, has an update on Joerger's standing with the team:
Dave Joerger's contract has been extended two years. Our guy @EricHasseltine with the scoop.— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) May 27, 2014
Sam Amick of USA Today provides contract details:
Griz going big on Dave Joerger: I'm told Memphis picked up 2016-17 team option & added another team option at increased value for 2017-18— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) May 27, 2014
Chris Vernon, who hosts The Chris Vernon Show, has more from Joerger:
Dave Joerger on w/ @EricHasseltine - "3 other teams asked to talk to me, only one they allowed to talk to was Minnesota"— Chris Vernon (@ChrisVernonShow) May 27, 2014
Rob Fischer of Fox Sports reveals more about the Timberwolves' failed pursuit of Joerger:
Dave Joerger confirms he was offered TWolves job on @Sports56WHBQ / 87.7FM— Rob Fischer (@thefishnation) May 27, 2014
Updates from Monday, May 26
Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune reports reasons Dave Joerger likely remained with the Grizzlies:
According to NBA sources, Pera improved Joerger’s contract and assured him his future remained in Memphis after the Wolves and Grizzlies likely had differing ideas about what compensation, if any, would be due should the Wolves hire a coach still under contract.
Memphis Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger won't be going anywhere after all. The presumed frontrunner to fill the Minnesota Timberwolves' head coaching vacancy has seemingly decided to stay where he is.
NBA insider David Aldridge was the first to break the news:
Whoa: Dave Joerger, per source, has declined the Timberwolves' offer and will remain coach in Memphis.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) May 25, 2014
Joerger's agent also told The Commercial Appeal in Memphis that his client was sticking with the Grizzlies, per Ronald Tillery:
Joerger has decided to stay in Memphis, his agent tells the CA.— Ronald Tillery (@CAGrizBeat) May 25, 2014
Owner Robert J. Pera briefly talked about Joerger's decision in a Twitter Q&A:
@thesulton25 I never really talked 1:1 with Joerger before this weekend. I think he's a great coach.— Robert J Pera (@RobertPera) May 25, 2014
Tillery briefly spoke with Joerger about his decision:
Joerger: What’s between Robert and I now is like WOW. This is how it’s supposed to be. There’s interaction and you talk about anything.— Ronald Tillery (@CAGrizBeat) May 26, 2014
More Joerger: This is where I want to be. I have a lot invested here.This feels good. I’m really, really, excited. We’re going to be fine.— Ronald Tillery (@CAGrizBeat) May 26, 2014
Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports what the Grizzlies' next step is:
Grizzlies will start a search for a new GM that will include interim Chris Wallace as a candidate. sources tell Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 25, 2014
In Joerger's first season with the Grizzlies, the team finished with a 50-32 regular-season record, which was good enough for seventh in the Western Conference. His job was even more impressive when you consider injuries limited Marc Gasol to 59 games in the regular season.
Most expected Memphis to fall off with the 2013 Defensive Player of the Year out, but under Joerger's stewardship, the Grizzlies remained competitive enough to stay in the playoff hunt.
Despite that relative success, his position with the organization grew tenuous after team CEO Jason Levien and assistant general manager Stu Lash were fired earlier in May. Since Levien had been one of the strongest voices behind the hiring of Joerger, the head coach's future was in doubt, ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported.
Two days after the ousters of Levien and Lash, Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis-St. Paul reported that the Grizzlies' relations with Joerger had reached the point of no return. The only problem was how his dismissal would be handled:
Bottom line on Joerger interview, per source: He wants out of Memphis and they want him out. He won't quit and they don't want to pay, so...— Jerry Zgoda (@JerryZgoda) May 21, 2014
In order to let Joerger out of his existing four-year deal, Memphis was looking for modest compensation:
Grizzlies are expected to seek compensation to let Joerger out of his contract, but it's not believed to be a deal-breaker, i.e. no 1st pick— Jerry Zgoda (@JerryZgoda) May 21, 2014
On Saturday, Wojnarowski reported that Minnesota team owner Glen Taylor had met with Joerger and that the T-Wolves had begun discussions with the Grizzlies as to what it might take to pry the head coach out of Memphis:
After meeting with owner Glen Taylor, Memphis coach Dave Joerger progressing on deal to become Minnesota coach, sources tell Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 25, 2014
Memphis and Minnesota have discussed compensation to allow Joerger out of his contract to leave for Timberwolves, sources tell Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 25, 2014
For whatever reason(s), however, Joerger has chosen to remain with the Grizzlies.
USA Today's Sam Amick believes this story likely still has a few twists and turns left:
Can confirm that Dave Joerger has decided to stay in Memphis, per his agent, Warren LeGarie. This likely isn't over yet though.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) May 25, 2014
Stein suggests that the Timberwolves felt compensating the Grizzlies is unnecessary, given Joerger's current standing in the organization:
Wolves feel as though they don't want to pay any compensation for a coach they know Grizz don't want to keep. Matter now of who yields— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) May 25, 2014
Sean Highkin of Sports on Earth posited that Joerger and the T-Wolves might be forcing Memphis' hand in order to make his road to Minneapolis a little easier:
My guess (and I have no inside info whatsoever) is the Grizz fire Joerger and then the Wolves hire him outright. Keeps the $2m he’s owed.— Sean Highkin (@highkin) May 25, 2014
Amick feels that Minnesota is in control of the situation and waiting for the Grizzlies to make the next move:
You give permission, you make it clear your coach is up for grabs. Minny has leverage b/c they know you don't want to pay him 2 more years.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) May 25, 2014
Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix thinks that Joerger's time in Memphis is over either way:
Impossible to imagine Joerger returning as Grizzlies coach. Relationship with ownership was dysfunctional last year. Can't come back.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) May 25, 2014
It remains to be seen where Joerger and the Grizzlies go from here. Only time will tell as the two parties try to push forward with the goal of competing for a championship.
With Joerger staying in Memphis, the team can push forward with a clearer vision for the offseason. Some sense of stability among the coaching ranks could potentially help the Grizzlies attract complementary pieces in free agency.
As Mannix alluded to, Memphis may not be out of the woods yet in terms of Joerger's future. The squad should feel more secure now than it did earlier this week, though.