The Memphis Grizzlies fired coach David Fizdale on Monday, 24 hours after benching centre Marc Gasol for the fourth quarter of an eighth straight loss.
“After a thorough evaluation, I decided a change in course was necessary to move forward”, General Manager Chris Wallace said in a statement.
Despite the team’s record of 7-12 for this season, the move was a stunner for many. Lebron James and Dwayne Wade expressed their outcry on Twitter.
I need some answers. Feels like my man was a fall guy
— LeBron James (@KingJames) 27 novembre 2017
I need answers!!! WTF https://t.co/z39oNRQok0
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) 27 novembre 2017
Gasol did not appreciate being sat for one whole quarter on Sunday: “It’s a first for me, trust me, and I don’t like it one bit,” he told reporters after the game. “If I’m not on the floor, I’m not valued,” he added.
Fizdale said the decision was a “risk” he had to take to try and win the game.
When asked if Fizdale was fired because of Gasol, Wallace told Ronald Tillery of the Commercial-Appeal : “There was tension between the two. This is a factor but its not the overriding factor”.
ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith ripped the organisation for the move: “This is B.S. There is no excuse for this bogus firing”, he said in his show First Take. “Gasol was the only one who didn’t like this man”.
The team reached the playoffs once and had a 50-51 record since Fizdale joined in May 2016.