May 21, 2014, 11:45 AM EDT
An earthquake of front-office confusion hit the Memphis Grizzlies, and the aftershocks are still reverberating.
The Wolves have been given permission to talk to Memphis coach Dave Joerger and will probably do so by the end of the week, according to a league source.
Bottom line, according to the source: Joerger wants out and Grizzlies ownership wants him out, but Joerger doesn’t want to leave the rest of his multi-year contract on the table and the team doesn’t want to pay him off.
If the Timberwolves get Joerger, that would be an excellent hire. He guided the Grizzlies to 50 wins despite the team getting hit hard by injuries and playing in a loaded Western Conference. Following Lionel Hollins – another quality coach Memphis was OK with losing – Joerger’s performance was impressive.
He might not persuade Kevin Love to change his mind and stay in Minnesota, but Joerger would give the Timberwolves a chance of winning enough next season to make Love re-consider. He’d be a good coach for any post-Love rebuilding that may need to happen as well.
As for the Grizzlies, what the heck? Why don’t they want to keep a coach like that? Just what is Grizzlies owner Robert Pera doing?
Two key front-office people are out – perhaps related to Pera’s reported desire to fire Joerger early in the season. No matter what role that debate played in the rift, Pera now has fewer roadbacks to dumping Joerger – especially if Memphis no longer has to pay the coach.
Whether or not Joerger leaves for the Timberwolves, don’t expect that to end the Grizzlies’ shakeup. John Hollinger remains in the front office, and it’s unknown his role going forward. Zach Randolph can become a free agent this offseason, and Marc Gasol’s contract ends in 2015.
Randolph previously said he wants to spend the rest of his career with the Grizzlies, but they’re quickly straying from being the Grizzlies that Randolph – and everyone else – knows.
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