Last week the Memphis Grizzlies told him “go ahead and talk to another team, see if you can get another job.” This week they have given coach Dave Joerger an extension. Well, maybe this is the first step on the road to some organizational stability.
This has been expected for the last 24 hours or so. Go back 72 hours and it was different, Joerger seemed all but done in Memphis, but by Sunday afternoon Joerger had a long conversation team owner Robert Pera and the two had worked out their differences (Pera reportedly wanted to fire Joerger earlier in the season but hadn’t really ever had a conversation with the coach he hired a year before).
The new deal is reportedly three years with a team option for the fourth.
This is a smart move, even if the Grizzlies got there in a roundabout fashion.
“I am absolutely thrilled to continue as the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies for years to come,” Joerger said in a released statement. “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.”
“I am excited to announce that we have reached an agreement to extend Dave Joerger as the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies,” Pera said in his statement. “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.”
Now all Memphis has to do is find a GM (remember they canned Jason Levien and assistant GM Stu Lash), get said GM to re-sign Zach Randolph plus find a way to add some shooting to the roster, then everything will be fine. All that probably goes a little more smoothly if the owner is less hands on and lets the basketball people make the basketball decisions, but that may not be the reality in Memphis. Still, having the same coach for years is a step toward some stability.
Marcus Smart on Game 7: ‘It’s not going to be pretty’
Game 7s are not pretty basketball. Everyone is tight, shots clank off the front of the rim, and players tend to think rather than just react, sucking the flow out of the game. It’s a game for grinders.
“It’s not going to be pretty. You got to be able to get down and get dirty. You can’t go out and try to look pretty. You have to be ready for a dogfight. We got to be ready to come up with our nose bloodied. We got to be ready to come out with our mouth bloodied. We have to come out ready to fight.”
If Boston is going to win this game, they will do so with the physical, smart, and unrelenting defense that carried them all season. That’s their grit. Without Kevin Love (out with a concussion) the Celtics have one less scorer to worry about, but things do not necessarily get dramatically easier — LeBron James is going to get his buckets, but can the Celtics keep George Hill, Kyle Korver, J.R. Smith and the rest of the role players from helping out with big nights of their own.
Which one of these teams is better positioned to win a grinding, sloppy game? Who is willing to dive on the floor and give that little extra effort? A case can be made either way, but Sunday night will decide it.
Report: Warriors’ Patrick McCaw cleared, will be available for Game 6
The Golden State Warriors are planning to activate swingman Patrick McCaw for Game 6 of the Western Conference finals against the Houston Rockets on Saturday night, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
McCaw, on paper, would help the Warriors — he’s a 6’5″ switchable defender who can provide some offense in transition. That’s especially true if Andre Iguodala is out for Game 6 (his status is a game-time decision). McCaw played about 17 minutes a night for the Warriors during the regular season.
However, the idea of taking a second-year player who has not been on a court in six weeks and throwing him into Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals — a win-or-go-fishing game for Golden State — is risky, at best. Don’t expect him to get on the court unless this is a blowout.
Kevin Love in concussion protocol, listed as out for Game 7
As if winning a Game 7 on the road against a younger, more athletic team that has not lost on its home court all playoffs was not difficult enough, things just got harder for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Kevin Love has a concussion and is not expected to play in Game 7 on Sunday.
STATUS UPDATE: @kevinlove is experiencing concussion-like symptoms and has been placed in the league’s concussion protocol. He is now listed as OUT for Game 7 in Boston. DETAILS: https://t.co/VXk3tptOwo
While it is technically possible for Love to clear out of the concussion protocol in 24 hours, it is highly unlikely. He would have to pass a rigorous physical test and have no concussion-related symptoms, something cleared by both the team doctor and a league-approved neurologist. This is something that tends to take days if not weeks to get over.
Love was injured just five minutes into Game 6. Love had set up position in the midpost and was setting a screen for George Hill, who was curling out to the arc. Jayson Tatum was trailing Hill and he banged heads with Love. It wasn’t pretty.
Love spent a few minutes on the ground, went straight to the locker room, and did not return to the game.
LeBron James is going to have to carry even more load in Game 7, and now more pressure falls on George Hill (the bellwether for this Cavs team), J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson and others to step up without Love there to space the floor and get buckets.
Report: Raptors interview Spurs’ assistants Ettore Messina, Ime Udoka for coaching job
San Antonio Spurs assistant coaches Ettore Messina and Ime Udoka interviewed with the Toronto Raptors for the franchise's head coaching job on Thursday and Friday, respectively, league sources told ESPN.
Raptors’ president Masai Ujiri fired Dwane Casey right after Casey’s peers voted him Coach of the Year for leading the Raptors to 59 wins and the No. 1 seed in the East. That said, after several frustrating years of running into the brick wall that is LeBron James in the East, maybe the Raptors did need a new voice and some changes to try to take the next step (especially with Boston and Philadelphia coming on fast in the East hierarchy).
But if you’re going to fire a 59-win Coach of the Year kind of guy, you better have an impressive replacement in hand or at least a clear plan.
Ujiri reportedly wanted Mike Budenholzer, but the former Hawks’ head coach took the job in Milwaukee after meeting with Toronto.
The leading candidate for the job is still considered to be Nick Nurse, the Raptors’ assistant who was in charge of their changed and improved offense last season. The Raptors also interviewed two other internal candidates, assistant coach Rex Kalamian and G-League coach Jerry Stackhouse.