Grizzlies fire coach David Fizdale one day after fourth-quarter benching of Marc Gasol
Fizdale has been dismissed 19 games into his second season with Memphis
After leading the team to a 7-12 record, including eight straight losses to start the 2017-18 season, Memphis Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale was fired on Monday. The team announced that associate head coach J.B. Bickerstaff will be promoted to interim head coach.
The news comes just a day after Grizzlies center Marc Gasol wasduring the fourth quarter of Memphis' 98-88 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
"After a thorough evaluation, I decided a change in course was necessary to move forward and provide the team and organization its best chance at success this season and beyond," Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace said. "Coach Fizdale represented the Grizzlies and City of Memphis proudly, and we wish him well as he continues his career."
"Coach Fizdale worked tirelessly to achieve on-court success, and for that, we are grateful. We wish him and his family all the best in the future," Grizzlies controlling owner Robert J. Pera said. "We remain focused on achieving sustainable, long-term success."
Fizdale built up a strong reputation as an assistant coach, most notably helping the Miami Heat win back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013, before becoming an NBA head coach for the first time when the Grizzlies hired him in May of 2016.
Despite a roster riddled with injuries, Fizdale led the Grizzlies to a 43-39 record and a No. 7 seed in the Western Conference playoffs last season. In the offseason the team said goodbye to longtime Grizzlies Zach Randolph and Tony Allen, paving the way for Fizdale to further implement his style. After a hot start, the Grizzlies have fallen on hard times recently, losing eight consecutive games.
Fizdale's most viral moment as a coach came when he vehemently came to the defense of his players, including All-Star Mike Conley, after Fizdale believed his team was being disrespected by the officials.
The Grizzlies have made the playoffs in seven consecutive seasons, getting as far as the Western Conference finals in 2013. Conley is signed through the 2021 season, while Gasol's contract runs through 2020. Both contracts have player options for early termination in the final year.
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