Memphis Grizzlies fired coach David Fizdale on Monday, with the team at 7-12 and a day after he brought center Marc Gasol to the fourth quarter of an eighth consecutive loss.
General Manager Chris Wallace announced the change. Associate head coach JB Bickerstaff has been named interim coach.
"After a thorough evaluation, I decided that a change in direction was necessary to move forward and give the team and the organization the best chance of success this season and beyond," said Wallace. it's a statement.
Gasol, with a Grizzlies deal of maximum in July 2015, sat in the final quarter of a 98-88 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday. Gasol leads the Grizzlies in points, rebounds and badists, and was an All-Star in the inaugural Fizdale season. But the center spent a lot of time after the game to make it clear to journalists how upset I was that I could not play a full quarter.
"It's the first time for me, believe me, and I do not like it a bit." Gasol said. "I'm more (marked) than I can show and I'm frustrated."
Fizdale explained his decision before Gasol spoke in the locker room and said he was simply trying to win a game without losing his reserves. Fizdale said that taking a risk as head coach sometimes means upsetting one or two players.
"If I'm not on the court, they do not value me," Gasol said. "I'm sure (the coaching staff) knew that would hurt me more."
The move caught the NBA by surprise. Dwyane Wade, who played with the Miami Heat when Fizdale was badistant coach, wrote on Twitter that he needed answers. LeBron James retweeted a comment that called the move "dazzling."
"I need some answers, I feel like my man is a fall," James wrote.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr said he was "shocked" by the dismissal.
"I think David Fizdale is one of the best coaches in the league." Kerr said. "He's a brilliant guy, he has an advantage for him, he's tough, he's smart, his whole team is injured, Mike Conley is out, and this is what happens, you lose when your best players are out and when all of your team It's taken me by surprise. "
Portland coach Terry Stotts called Fizdale's dismissal very disappointing.
"Losing in this league and not meeting the expectations in this league takes its toll on everyone," said Stotts before a game in New York. . "Owners, general managers, coaches, players and management that is a tension in relationships, and it's disappointing – it's probably the hardest part of being in the NBA, it's managing that part of the season."
Fizdale became the 13th head coach of the franchise on May 29, 2016, and went 50-51.
The Grizzlies reached the postseason for the seventh consecutive time in Fizdale's first season, when they lost to the San Antonio Spurs. Fizdale was fined $ 30,000 by the NBA for an offense over officiating after a loss in Game 2.
Memphis let Zach Randolph, Vince Carter and Tony Allen go free agents and signed Ben McLemore, Tyreke Evans and Mario Chalmers to list around Gasol and point guard Mike Conley and give Fizdale a quicker lineup.
The moves seemed to be working when Memphis started this season with a better 5-1 in the NBA. The Grizzlies remained at the top of the Western Conference with a victory over the Golden State Warriors and two over the rival of Southwest Division Houston.
But Conley has been out since November 17, resting a sore left Achilles tendon. Then, the team lost its eighth straight on Sunday, matching the longest streak for this franchise from February 11 to March 3, 2009. Now Fizdale is the second NBA coach fired this season, along with Earl Watson, who was fired by Phoenix three games the season.
This will be the second time as interim coach of Bickerstaff, who will start Wednesday night in San Antonio against the Spurs. He joined the Grizzlies in June 2016 after five seasons with the Houston Rockets, including an interim coaching period that lasted most of 2015-16 and included a playoff spot. Bickerstaff turned 37-34 in that role.
He was also badistant coach of Minnesota and in Charlotte with his father, Bernie Bickerstaff.
AP basketball writer Brian Mahoney in New York, AP Sports writer Janie McCauley in Oakland, California, and freelance writer Clay Bailey in Memphis, Tennessee, contributed to this report.
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