The Grizzlies’ unexpected firing of Dave Joerger on Saturday morning shook up the current head coaching landscape, not only creating another opening but adding another highly attractive candidate to the pool.
It would appear that a major source of tension that led to Joerger’s dismissal was his interest in other gigs. He famously flirted with the Timberwolves opening in 2014 while under contract, and The Undefeated‘s Marc Spears reports that he asked the Grizzlies for permission to interview for the Kings’ opening recently:
Now that Joerger is available, he could be headed to Sacramento. The Vertical‘s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Joerger is the Kings’ top candidate, and a deal could get done quickly:
It is unlikely that Joerger, 42, will be out of work for long. The Sacramento Kings have made him their No. 1 candidate and are planning to move quickly to secure a deal with him, league sources said. The Grizzlies sidestepped what could’ve been a lengthy negotiation with Sacramento about what would’ve turned out to be a conditional second-round pick as compensation for hiring Joerger, league sources said.
With the dismissal of Joerger, the Grizzlies can move quickly into a coaching search – and Joerger can get what he had been lobbying for – an exit out of Memphis.
Despite Sacramento’s inherent dysfunction, the Kings’ willingness to give Joerger a significant long-term contract – likely in the $4 million range annually – is a strong allure for a coach who spent 10 years making modest money in basketball’s minor leagues, league sources said.
The Kings’ interest in Joerger makes sense — he’s proven he can win with limited personnel (see: this season’s undermanned Grizzlies team that made the playoffs) and has a similar temperament to Michael Malone, the only coach DeMarcus Cousins has connected with in the NBA. With Joerger officially unemployed, the hurdles to get him significantly decrease, as Sacramento wouldn’t have to give up any picks while he’s under contract. All signs point to something getting done soon.