Skip to content

Report: Robert Pera orchestrated one-on-one game with Tony Allen, wanted to fire Dave Joerger when it fell through

May 26, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

UPDATE: Grizzlies owner Robert Pera took to twitter to defend himself.

To which the writer Chris Mannix (who does his research) had this retort:

Pera is hands on and passionate but clearly not an experienced manager. He’s learning some lessons the hard way.

11:00 am: Back in September, Grizzlies owner Robert Pera challenged Tony Allen to a game of one-on-one. Allen even accepted.

The game never happened, and Pera moved on to challenge Michael Jordan to a game of one-on-one (though that game didn’t happen either).

But behind the scenes in Memphis, Pera reportedly didn’t move on at all.

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated:

The genesis of the Joerger-Pera problems, according to league sources, dates back to last September. Pera — who fancies himself a pretty good player — challenged Tony Allen to a game of one-on-one. Allen, on Twitter, accepted. Pera, a Silicon Valley billionaire who bought a small controlling interest in the Grizzlies in 2012, poured tens of thousands of dollars into producing the matchup. He invited the media and instructed the public relations staff to issue a press release promoting the event.

The problem? Allen had lost interest. Joerger, a first-year head coach, didn’t like the idea of the game — like many in the organization he found it goofy and unbecoming of a professional team, according to sources — but it was Allen’s indifference that caused it to be called off. Yet Pera directed his frustration at Joerger and, according to a source, directed upper management to fire him.

Wow. Just…. wow. That is an incredible story.

But wait. There’s more.


When the Grizzlies opened the season 2-3 — including double-digit defeats to Dallas and New Orleans — Pera flew to Memphis and held individual meetings with players, sources say. He began offering bizarre suggestions. He suggested Mike Miller, a longtime Grizzlies player who was re-signed in the offseason, could become a player-coach. He brought up the idea that Joerger could wear an NFL-style headset and take instructions on the sideline. When the Grizzlies faced Golden State in early November, Pera insisted that Joerger give significant minutes to fourth-year power forward Ed Davis. Davis played just one. Again, according to sources, Pera insisted that Joerger had to go. Only after it was explained how dysfunctional the franchise would look if it fired a first year head coach six games into the season did Pera back down.

Miller, under Collective Bargaining Agreement rules, couldn’t be a player-coach. He’d have to retire as a player first.

I suppose Joerger could wear a headset, but what’s the point? A basketball coach is feet from all his assistants, and there are only a few of them to track the 10 players on the court. In football, there are many more coaches and 22 players on the field. Everyone is more spread out, making headsets much more helpful. Who would Joerger have been talking to that he couldn’t to face-to-face? Pera?

The Grizzlies won that game against the Warriors by 18 points. Maybe Davis should have gotten more playing time, but the result makes it difficult to question Joerger. Besides, Davis settled into a more consistent role as the season progressed.

This is a long list of strange charges. If even half of them are true, it certainly adds a twist to the JoergertoMinnesota saga.

Joerger might be remaining in Memphis for now, but that’s a lot of distrust to overcome with ownership. I suspect this won’t be the last you hear of Pera and Joerger’s relationship.

  1. grantgoodman93 - May 26, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    …..what did I just read

  2. imnotyourbuddyguy - May 26, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    That 1st story is sad, so needy.
    The 2nd isn’t so bad, he didn’t know the rules, being far too hands on yes, but trying to be innovative as well.
    Overall, glad he’s not part of the Pistons.

    • rawgator06 - May 26, 2014 at 12:53 PM

      I think the Pistons are going to be just fine, as long as they stick to the plan of letting SVG do whatever he wants to do

  3. bellerophon30 - May 26, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    Oh I think we’re going to enjoy the Robert Pera era in Memphis,

  4. PanchoHerreraFanClub - May 26, 2014 at 11:27 AM

    I guess the point is that NBA owners are a crazy bunch. Who knew?

  5. jasper36 - May 26, 2014 at 11:42 AM

    It sounds to me like the owner got mad when the coach didn’t go for him challenging his players to useless games.

  6. rodyaugu - May 26, 2014 at 11:43 AM

    This guy should understand players and coaches won’t take crap from him like his other employees. Because even if he choose to fire or cut them, their is someplace else waiting for them with opens arms. That’s an incentive his other employees don’t have.

  7. ranfan12 - May 26, 2014 at 11:58 AM

    I would’ve mistaken him for a player. He looks so young lol.

  8. miamatt - May 26, 2014 at 12:02 PM

    What does a “small controlling interest” mean? Is there a bigger, majority-holding owner? Are there other “small controlling interest” Grizzlies owners? If there is anybody else up there, they need to tell Beavis to settle down.

  9. sportsfan18 - May 26, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    Why didn’t Joerger do whatever he could to get to Minny and OUT of that crap?

    Never know when this nut Pera will wake up on the wrong side of the bed, with a burr up his behind etc.. and tell Joerger to coach the game while standing on his head or be fired…

    • ProBasketballPundit - May 26, 2014 at 2:33 PM

      Nobody’s in a rush to get to Minnesota; team or state.

  10. ningenito78 - May 26, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    Joeger should just punch him in the face, steal his car and drive to Minnesota.

    • jcmeyer10 - May 26, 2014 at 4:02 PM

      Ala Kingpin.

  11. crillbill - May 26, 2014 at 12:13 PM

    Nba really needs to start screening owners better

  12. duhwighthoward - May 26, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    It’s his team; he can run it however he wants. Since only the Lakers and a couple other teams win championships, why not try something new?

    • don444 - May 27, 2014 at 4:39 AM

      Very rich or not this Pera punk sounds like a real screwball, but hey, world’s full of them.

  13. bigmeechy74 - May 26, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    I guess you could call him a “Pera-trooper” amirite guys?

  14. thundercocck - May 26, 2014 at 5:50 PM

    Looks like Memphis is the Cleveland Browns of the NBA

  15. realfootballfan - May 26, 2014 at 7:15 PM

    Another crazy owner you don’t say?

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (2730)
  2. K. Irving (2205)
  3. A. Davis (1870)
  4. K. Bryant (1522)
  5. L. James (1441)
  1. K. Durant (1281)
  2. T. Thompson (1266)
  3. B. Jennings (1220)
  4. M. Leonard (1145)
  5. A. Aminu (1116)