The moment the regular part of the NBA season ended, franchises began cleaning their backyards. Of course, the first ones who are under fire are the coaches.
This Thursday only, three NBA teams fired their head coaches, and it seems that this is just a start of the offseason which will bring a lot of changes in the league.
Divac Abruptly Fires Joerger
The biggest news was the departure of Sacramento Kings’ Dave Joerger, who did an amazing job in the capital of California, creating a team which will no doubt soon enough be one of the best in the Western Conference.
Joerger, who led the Kings to the best season in the past 13 years, finishing 9th in the West with a 39-43 record, was a victim of Sacramento’s GM Vlade Divac, who already had some issues with the 45-year old. Throughout the season these two had different opinions on some matters including playing time of some players and the way the team would be developed.
Divac earlier today got the extension for his GM position until the year 2023, and decided to remove the coach and an assistant GM Brandon Williams, with whom Joerger also had disputes during the campaign.
In a written statement, Divac explained the reasons for parting the ways with Joerger.
“After evaluating the season, I determined that we need to move in a different direction in order to take us to the next level,” Divac said in a statement. “On behalf of the entire Kings organization, I want to thank Dave for his contributions to our team, and I wish him all the best.”
Joerger engineered the Kings most successful season since 2006, but Divac is consolidating power around himself. Philadelphia assistant Monty Williams has been a primary target for Kings management, sources said. He's expected to be a candidate for openings elsewhere this spring. https://t.co/fyKLDDbRuH
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 11, 2019
According to most of the experts, this is a huge mistake of the Kings, and especially Divac, who had been criticized in the past about his decisions, but ended up being right. Joerger developed the team in the best possible way, especially the young core which became one of the most talented crews in the whole league.
Besides that, the Kings, in general, are back on the map and will be a tempting destination for all the free agents in the upcoming free agency.
Monty Williams, 76ers assistant coach, and Luke Walton who will be soon fired from the Lakers are emerging as first options to replace Joerger.
Drew Part Ways With Cleveland
Coach Larry Drew isn’t coming back to Cleveland after this season. Drew, who has been an assistant coach in the Cavaliers from 2014 until this year, took over the team after Tyrone Lue’s exit at the start of the season. During his short stint as a head of staff, Cavs recorded 19 wins and 57 losses.
He was one of Lue’s main helpers in the 2016 season, when Cleveland won the title, but decided to look his luck at some other place. He didn’t want to get back to being an assistant coach which Cavs’ GM Koby Altman planned.
— Jeff Schudel (@jsproinsider) April 11, 2019
“Larry and I had a productive discussion about this past season, the future of the franchise and the search process that we will shortly launch regarding the head coaching role,” Altman explained to the media. “Larry respectfully declined to participate in the search process and will not be returning to coach the Cavaliers.”
According to the media, Cavs don’t have a replacement for Drew ready, and they will be handling that matter in a short period of time.
Big Changes in Memphis
Memphis Grizzlies decided to change a lot of things during this season, and they aren’t stopping now. It could be guessed after the trade of Marc Gasol that something big is coming up in Tennessee.
J.B. Bickerstaff, who led the Grizzlies in almost two full seasons, was fired today.
The 40-year old coach who had 48 wins and 97 losses as the leader of the Grizzlies, didn’t fit in organization’s future plans, as they want someone with more experience, and who can bring the team back to the playoffs.
The Grizzlies dismissed coach J.B. Bickerstaff and reassigned GM Chris Wallace to a scouting capacity in the front office, league sources tell ESPN. VP John Hollinger will also move into a senior advisory role.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 11, 2019
Besides that, many personnel changes took place in Memphis. The former GM Chris Wallace was re-installed in that position once again, after being demoted to some other roles. Wallace who put together Mike Conley and Marc Gasol and is one of the most important figures in Memphis’ history, will once again try to create a playoff team from the Grizzlies.
Besides this news, Jason Wexler is becoming a president of basketball and business operations.
Expect more interesting stories from the NBA in the next few days.