Friday 15th February 2019,

Poor Relationship with Marc Gasol May Have Led to David Fizdale Getting Fired by Grizzlies

Poor Relationship with Marc Gasol May Have Led to David Fizdale Getting Fired by Grizzlies

david fizdale

David Fizdale didn’t even make it through one-and-a-half seasons as head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies elected to fire the second-year clipboard-carrier 19 games in 2017-18, as first reported by’s Adrian Wojnarowski, for reasons that aren’t totally clear. Sure, the team is 7-12, their playoff hopes fading fast. But they’ve dealt with massive amounts of injuries, most recently to franchise point guard Mike Conley, who’s on the shelf with an Achilles problem.

As it turns out, though, wins and losses might not have actually done in Fizdale. The driving force, it seems, was Marc Gasol. As’s Jonathan Givony wrote:

Word out of Memphis this past summer already was Marc Gasol and Coach Fizdale were on very poor terms after some confrontations in practice. Seemed inevitable they’d have to pick between one or the other eventually. This isn’t some recent thing.

Getting on the wrong side of a primary cornerstone is always a good way to get canned, even if said pillar is 32 and coming off a career year under your stead. And Gasol certainly seemed unhappy with Fizdale following the Grizzlies’ Sunday night loss to the Brooklyn Nets. Here is a fraction of his comments, as relayed by The Commercial Appeal‘s Peter Edmiston:

That last line registers are pretty damn ominous when looking back. Gasol has never appeared to be the high-maintenance type, but something about him and Fizdale clearly didn’t mesh.

Is that enough grounds for the Grizzlies to can Fizdale? Not at all. Even if they’re resistant to rebuilding, one player on the wrong side of 30 cannot dictate this decision. Something else had to be at play. Maybe Fizdale was hell-bent on rebuilding. Maybe he lost others in the locker room. And perhaps Conley, another player who enjoyed a career season under Fizdale in 2016-17, was one of them.

Additional details will trickle out in due time. For now, the Grizzlies are tasked with reviving their playoff candidacy and finding a new head coach. J.B. Bickerstaff will be assuming Fizdale’s position in the meantime, but it’s not yet clear whether Memphis views this as a permanent solution.

And as for Fizdale himself, don’t shed too many tears in his name. He still has one year left on his contract, for which he will be paid, and another team will scoop him up either as an assistant or head coach by next season at the latest.


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