What does Grizzlies alleged dysfunction say about Wolves job?
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What's going on in Memphis?
Soon after Dave Joerger unexpectedly returned to coach the Grizzlies, Chris Mannix published a piece SI.com, citing unnamed sources, that makes the situation in Memphis look pretty darn dysfunctional. Joerger was granted and received permission to interview for the Wolves job, which he did over the weekend.
Mannix wrote that on the surface things appear to be going pretty well for the Grizzlies.
"In truth, the Grizzlies are a mess," Mannix wrote. "They have an owner that hired Joerger, then wanted to fire him, then let him interview with Minnesota, then welcomed him back."
He goes on to outline some whacky goings on inside the Grizzlies organization, mostly relating to the team's principal owner, Robert Pera.
If all or most of the claims are true, what does it say about the Minnesota coaching job that Joerger stayed in Memphis? Of course, if Kevin Love is indeed on his way out in the near future, the Grizzlies present a better chance to win in the near-term.
In any case, there are parts to the piece that read like parody, even though they're not.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Pera fired back on Twitter:
Wow..@ChrisMannixSI What happened to journalistic integrity? No wonder people are calling me crazy. I would too if any of that was true— Robert J Pera (@RobertPera) May 26, 2014
(For more on the Kevin Love trade discussion and the Wolves' early pursuit of Joerger, check out the latest Sports Over Beers podcast with Jon Krawczynski, Chip Scoggins and Derek Wetmore.)
Here's a point-by-point summary of some of the most surprising bits:
--Pera challenged Grizzlies guard Tony Allen to a game of one-on-one and spent "tens of thousands of dollars" producing the matchup.
--He instructed the public relations staff to promote the game against Allen and invited the media.
--Joerger found it "goofy and unbecoming of a professional team," Mannix writes.
--Pera then directed upper management to fire Joerger.
--The owner also offered bizarre suggestions, according to Mannix, such as:
a) Mike Miller becoming a player-coach.
b) Joerger "could wear an NFL-style headset and take instructions on the sideline," Mannix writes.
--Joerger was granted permission to interview for the Wolves' job, an opportunity that, if he received a job offer, would provide the coach leverage in talks with Memphis.
You can read the entire Sports Illustrated story here.
The piece later adds that some say Pera and Joerger have settled their differences and that's why he's returning as the coach for Memphis. "What's between Robert and I now is like 'Wow.," Joerger told the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. "This is how it's supposed to be. There's interaction and you talk about anything. This feels good."
But others say, according to Mannix, this hang-up was compensation between the Wolves and Grizzlies. This is pure speculation, but perhaps the Wolves assumed Joerger would simply be fired and balked at any potential asking price. Or perhaps Joerger was "leery of the rebuilding job a post-Kevin Love Wolves would be" and decided to stay with a promising team, Mannix writes.
Mannix wrote that Pera didn't respond to a request for an interview, but Pera tweeted to Mannix on Monday that this wasn't true.
@ChrisMannixSI Btw..you never contacted me. If you want to get your "source" on TV/radio, let's be open and have a talk. Name your time— Robert J Pera (@RobertPera) May 26, 2014
@RobertPera I'm easy to reach. Your people have my number.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) May 26, 2014
What a strange situation. And in all of this, the Wolves might have missed out on their guy.