Joerger joins rolling heads

LOS ANGELES • If the National Basketball Association's 2015-16 campaign has revealed anything about coaching, it is that no job can be considered safe.

The Memphis Grizzlies dismissed coach Dave Joerger on Saturday, a move which would have come as a surprise in any other season bar this one.

Joerger, who had been with the franchise since becoming an assistant in 2007, enjoyed three winning seasons and recently pushed the Grizzlies to a third consecutive play-off appearance despite injuries to key players.

Those achievements were not enough, however, to secure his job.

"After careful consideration, I concluded that a change was needed to foster the strong culture required to achieve sustainable, long-term success for this organisation, the city and our fans," Memphis general manager Chris Wallace said.

Changes to the faces in the coaching box have come fast and furious almost since the opening tip-off.

In November, Houston sacked Kevin McHale despite him leading them to the Western Conference Finals the previous year.

David Blatt got Cleveland to the NBA Finals last summer but that could not save him from being ousted in January.

In all, there were five coaching changes before the All-Star Break and the terminations have come even more frequently in recent months, and included yet more head-scratchers.

It was no surprise to see the Los Angeles Lakers cut ties with Byron Scott, but Indiana's removal of Frank Vogel was by no means predictable.

Vogel was yet another play-off winning coach who seemed to have the ear of his players, but clearly not the management.

George Karl can blame his exit from Sacramento on his difficult relationship with franchise player DeMarcus Cousins.

"I never felt I got into a good place with (Cousins)," he said. "Some of that was my stupidity when I said that no player is untradeable. I'm old school enough to think that a coach has to feel powerful, has to feel supported."

Old school or new, successful or not, few NBA coaches are feeling powerful these days, knowing that the axe could fall on them next.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 09, 2016, with the headline 'Joerger joins rolling heads'. Print Edition | Subscribe