After a startling shake up at the executive level – CEO and GM Jason Levien and his assistant Stu Lash were let go - the relationship between the first time coach and majority team owner Robert Pera became strained. However the rift vanished, and Joerger told ESPN the team guaranteed the fourth year in his contract and added a fifth team option.
Joerger had an impressive first season as head coach after a slow start. He led the team to the first round of the playoffs and can feel unfortunate to have eventually lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder in seven games.
The decision gives the Grizzlies stability and continuity. Joerger was an assistant coach with the Grizzlies since 2007, and his familiarity with the players and the organisational culture undoubtedly enabled him to have such a successful season despite being a first year NBA coach. His team finished the regular season with a 50-32 record.
What he doesn’t say is what caused the rift between him and his boss initially, and whether or not the Minnesota Timberwolves was a serious option for Joerger.
It is clear that the Grizzlies have a better team and there is uncertainty in Minnesota over Kevin Love’s seemingly inevitable departure and who they would replace him with. Standing pat is the wiser choice.
Thankfully for Memphis, Joerger is now “100% committed to leading the Grizzlies”.