But Fizdale was probably no longer seeking revenge against Gasol specifically.
Gasol and Fizdale made their peace during a phone conversation over the summer, putting to rest the differences that led Memphis management to fire Fizdale after a Nov. 26, 2017, loss to the Brooklyn Nets in which Gasol was benched the entire fourth quarter.
“It was a fantastic conversation,” Fizdale said before his Knicks beat the Grizzlies 103-98 on Sunday. “It was two men that evolved. That’s pretty cool to see a moment in your life, individually as a man, where your life changed and you got better because of it, somebody made you better. I credit him for that. He made me a better coach. He made me a better person. I was lucky to be his coach.”
“We’re both appreciative, and we both understand that it wasn’t perfect,” Gasol told ESPN. “We both would have handled it differently, not last year but the year before when everything happened. We won’t let that happen again. It’s simple: You live, you learn, and you move on. We made peace with each other, and that’s it.”
Added Fizdale: “I think it’s pretty cool in a time that we all live in, and people are so mad at each other, here we are two guys that have squashed it and are cool.”
This is pretty cool. Most grudges aren’t worth maintaining, and good for Fizdale and Gasol for getting over theirs.
It probably helps they’re no longer working together. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Plus, it would have been difficult for Fizdale and Gasol to repair their relationship last season amid repeated losing, which only exacerbates internal conflict.
But now, with their separation, they can appreciate their time together.