Marc Gasol might not have explicitly request the Grizzlies fire David Fizdale, but the center’s comments after Memphis’ latest loss were certainly heard – especially in the context of their longstanding tension.
How responsible is Gasol for the Grizzlies firing Fizdale yesterday?
Peter Edmiston of Sports 56:
Marc Gasol: "I was shocked by (the firing) Me: Did you ask for Fizdale to be fired? Marc: "No. Not at all." Me: Did you speak to Robert Pera? Marc: "I spoke to Robert – I found out after the decision was made. They let me know the direction but not before the decision was made."
I asked Marc if he was concerned he was going to be perceived as a coach-killer: "That's all right. There's nothing I can do about that. Nothing I can do. All I can do is win, try to figure out (the problem), own my part, my responsibility for the record we have."
However the Grizzlies reached their decision on Fizdale was at least partially with Gasol in mind. And that’s OK. He’s a star player, and the team should make reasonable accommodations for him.
Was firing Fizdale reasonable? Tough to say from the outside.
But Gasol ought to know – and probably does – his words carry weight in Memphis. He didn’t necessarily owe it to Fizdale to get in line behind him and stay there forever. The more Gasol resisted, the more likely Fizdale’s firing became.
Gasol needn’t flaunt that power now. He already exercised it. But the rest of us can still understand it exists.
Jaylen Brown drove 15 hours from Boston to Atlanta to lead peaceful protest
This protest is one of many nationwide happening for a fifth straight night in the wake of the death of Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. That death happened not long after the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man killed while jogging in a Georgia neighborhood.
Derek Chauvin, the man pictured kneeling on Floyd’s neck — which he did for more than eight-and-a-half minutes — was fired from his job in the Minneapolis Police Department and was arrested on Friday and charged with third-degree murder.
Brown, like many nationwide, hope these protests and this frustration can be channeled into real change. Something this nation needs.
Few have had the experience of Pistons’ coach Dwane Casey. He grew up in Kentucky during desegregation and was in the midst of some of the uglier days of our nation.
Casey released this statement in the wake of Floyd’s death.
“Fifty-four years ago I was an eight-year-old boy living in rural Kentucky when the schools were desegregated. I walked into a white school where I was not wanted nor welcomed. At that time there were no cell phones to record my treatment, no cable news stations with 24/7 coverage, no social media to record the reality of the situation or offer support nor condemnation. But I can remember exactly how I felt as an eight-year-old child. I felt helpless. I felt as if I was neither seen, nor heard, nor understood. As I have watched the events unfold in the days following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a city where I coached and once called home, I see how many people continue to feel those same feelings – helpless, frustrated, invisible, angry.
“I understand the outrage because it seems the list continues to grow: Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd. The injustices continue to mount and nothing seems to be changing.
“Fifty-four years later, my son is now eight years old and I look at the world he is growing up in and wonder, how much has really changed? How often is he judged on sight? Is he growing up in a world where he is seen, and heard, and understood? Does he feel helpless? Will he be treated like George Floyd or Ahmaud Abrey? What have we really done in the last 54 years to make his eight-year-old world better than mine was? We all have to be and do better.
“We have to change the way we see and hear each other. We have to work together to find solutions to make the justice system just. Black, white and brown people have to work together to find new answers. The only way we can stop the systemic problems that people of color have faced all our lives is through honesty and transparency. We have to understand why people are at their limit at this moment. It takes empathy, in its truest form. It takes a culture shift, it takes action. Let’s stop the injustice now. Let’s not allow another generation to continue to live in a world where they are treated as unequal. Now is the time for real change.”
Now is the time for change, but we need to act to make it happen, not just hope.
Jerry West: Lakers vs. Clippers NBA Finals “would be the ultimate competition”
Jerry West is a Lakers’ legend, a Hall of Fame player who led the franchise to its first championship, later helped put together the Showtime Lakers as the GM. He has a statue outside Staples Center and has a case for greatest Laker ever.
Right now, West is a consultant to Steve Ballmer and the Clippers.
“For me, Dan, that would be the ultimate competition. I think in Los Angeles, they have so many Laker fans, my goodness. The enormous success that the Lakers have had over the years, they are a really good team now, two of the best players we’ve seen in a long time on one team. I think it would be incredible for the people in the west. I’m not sure how that would go over for the teams back east who want to see their respective teams get an opportunity to play.
“That would be a situation where I think it would be unbelievably competitive. It would be compelling. I don’t know how many teams in the same city have competed for a championship in any sport, much less the NBA. It would make a compelling story, but, in all likelihood, I think you’re going to see things that will be a little bit more normal.”
Some teams are pushing back again the 1-16 seeding, not because of this season when all the teams are in Orlando but because if it happens it would open the door to that seeding every playoffs (a lot of teams oppose it in a traditional season).
That hallway series between the Lakers and Clippers would lose some luster being played in a fanless building on the other end of the country (the Lakers would basically have seven home games, their fans have at least a 50/50 split at Clippers’ home games). However, in a league driven by star power, LeBron James and Anthony Davis vs. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George — with Patrick Beverley talking a lot of smack — would draw ratings.
One way or another, we need to see this series these playoffs.
GMs want more players, roster flexibility when NBA restarts games
If the NBA had polled general managers last summer — long before the coronavirus had upended our lives and the league — GMs would have wanted more roster flexibility and players. They want more options. It’s the default position for any GM.
One thing that achieved widespread consensus was the need for teams to have more flexibility with their rosters no matter how the league chooses to resume play. When asked if the playoffs should have expanded rosters or teams should have more of an ability to replace players sidelined by injury or illness, only two teams voted for neither option. Twelve voted for expanded rosters, and 16 voted for an increased ability to replace players who are injured or sick…
There also was a strong preference to add two-way players to playoff rosters — something that previously wasn’t the case. Only three teams said they would vote against adding two-way players to playoff rosters, while 19 said they would support it if rosters remain the same size. The eight other teams said they would support adding two-way players even if rosters expanded beyond 15.
In addition, 16 teams said they preferred that the league add two roster spots for the playoffs, while nine voted for one extra spot and five voted for three.
Making two-way players — guys already in the team’s system — available for the playoffs feels like a no-brainer for the league. Adding a roster spot so playoff teams could add a veteran at a position of weakness makes sense as well.
The reason the GMs want the flexibility is obvious — this is an unprecedented situation, the schedule will be condensed (with teams playing every other day), and it’s possible a player or players could be sidelined by the virus for a couple of weeks. Depth is going to matter to teams.
Expect the league to allow some modifications to rosters, and some of those may well carry over into next season.