The dominos continue to fall in Memphis. First the front office, now the head coach, Dave Joerger who is reportedly close to being “traded” to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
According to an ESPN.com source, the Timberwolves camp has made “significant progress” in luring Joerger away from the Grizzlies. For the deal to be completed, Memphis will most likely throw in some future draft picks and/or cash to Memphis.
The trouble in Memphis is a bit surprising for the casual NBA observer; after all they are just coming off a 50-32 regular season and then pushed the Oklahoma City Thunder to seven games in their first round series in the Western Conference Playoffs.
According to the same report, Joerger has already met with Minnesota president of basketball operations Flip Saunders and scheduled to meet with Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor over the weekend. Joerger calls Minnesota his hometown and Saunders was his mentor before becoming an assistant coach/head coach with Memphis.
Last Monday, Grizzlies owner Robert Pera announced the firing of chief executive officer Jason Levien and assistant manager Stu Lash. The move was apparently more personal than for basketball reasons as the Memphis owner is mentioned in many articles trying to gain control over the team.
Other coaching prospects for Minnesota include former Toronto Raptors coach Sam Mitchell, Tom Izzo (Michigan State), Fred Hoiberg (Iowa State) and Billy Donovan (Florida) among others.
Should Joerger land in Minnesota, the change of scenery for the young coach would be very interesting; the Timberwolves were one of the worst defensive teams in the league in the 2013-2014 NBA regular season and conversely, the Grizzlies are one of the tops with a grind-it-out, tough defensive style that has made them successful over the last few years.
And if the deal is finalized bringing Joerger to the Timberwolves, he will also face the prospect of dealing with the Kevin Love drama. The Timberwolves franchise player will reportedly opt-out of his contract after 2015 and Minnesota is active in searching for deals before he hits free agency.