David Fizdale has been linked to most of the NBA’s head-coaching vacancies.
He developed a legion of backers as lead a Heat assistant, and he did good things guiding the Grizzlies before they unexpectedly fired him. He deserves consideration.
And maybe the problem was even worse than that.
According to a source close to Fizdale briefed on the Grizzlies’ decision, it was ownership having to make a choice — trade their All-Star center Marc Gasol, who has fallen in love with its small-market city, or fire the coach. Their relationship had gotten that bad.
If Grizzlies ownership felt it had to choose between Gasol and Fizdale, it’s not clear why.
Fizdale benched Gasol down the stretch during the coach’s last game, and Gasol publicly expressed his frustration.
But Gasol denied issuing a me-or-Fizdale ultimatum. Fizdale said focus on his relationship with Gasol was “overblown,” adding he cared far more about whether he could win with a player than whether they got along personally.
Memphis obviously sided with Gasol – probably too strongly.