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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Articles tagged: David Fizdale

Report: Lakers do not support Luke Walton completely, may be eyeing David Fizdale

Luke Walton

Is LaVar Ball now about to speak a head coaching move into existence?

In an appearance Friday on “The Rich Eisen Show,” ESPN’s Brian Windhorst dropped a bit of a bombshell about the LA Lakers and coach Luke Walton.

“Whatever you want to say about LaVar Ball, he has smoked out the fact that the Lakers do not support Luke Walton,” said Windhorst, according to Ryne Nelson of SLAMOnline. “And that is now crystal clear. And there are now guys out there wondering openly to me — executives, coaches, agents — who the Lakers are going to hire as their next coach. Because that has been revealed here –that they do not have unconditional support for Luke.

“What coach has LeBron [James] tweeted about most recently? What coach got fired this year and LeBron tweeted about it?” Windhorst continued when pressed on who the Lakers might hire if they were to fire Walton. “Los Angeles native David Fizdale … I got executives in my ear, I got agents in my ear, saying, ‘Oh yeah, they’re probably going to hire David Fizdale.'”

Since Ball went viral earlier this month with his controversial comments about Walton supposedly losing control of the team, the Lakers, both players and management, have indicated that the second-year coach still has their full support. But they remain a rotten 14-27 on the year, and questions about the 37-year-old’s Walton’s fit for this team at this point in time still persist.

It’s worth noting that Fizdale, who was fired by the Memphis Grizzlies earlier this season, coached James, presumably the Lakers’ top free agent target this summer, as an assistant in Miami for many years. Though both he and Walton have roughly the same amount of head coaching experience, Fizdale seems to be the more respected of the two right now. That could leave the Lakers with a decision to make, especially if their struggles under Walton continue.

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade not happy about David Fizdale firing

LeBron James bald

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are bothered by the news of David Fizdale’s firing by the Memphis Grizzlies.

Shortly after news broke that Fizdale was being fired and replaced by assistant J.B. Bickerstaff, James sent the following tweet:

Wade added this:

Fizdale was an assistant on Erik Spoelstra’s staff in Miami prior to taking the Memphis job, which is why both James and Wade are coming to his defense.

Memphis started off the season 7-4, but they have lost eight in a row and are now 7-12. They also have some issues with their star player, as Marc Gasol was benched for the fourth quarter on Sunday. Clearly ownership or management felt there was a need for change.

Fizdale, a widely respected coach around the league, was in just his second season on the job. He went 43-39 in his first season, taking the team to the playoffs.

Of course, Memphis has a reputation for firing coaches who have had success; they have fired three coaches over the past five years, with Lionel Hollins and Dave Joerger also getting the ax despite coming off winning seasons.

Report: Grizzlies fire David Fizdale

David Fizdale

The Memphis Grizzlies have fired head coach David Fizdale, according to a report.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday that Fizdale was out in Memphis, with assistant J.B. Bickerstaff poised to take over on an interim basis.

This is definitely abrupt, though the team was at 7-12 and there was some public criticism of the way things were going from star center Marc Gasol, who was benched in the fourth quarter of the team’s eighth consecutive loss on Sunday. This is still a big surprise, though, given Fizdale took Memphis to the playoffs last year in his first year as head coach and was quite popular doing it. Clearly, the front office is siding with Gasol here.

David Fizdale has fantastic quote about defending LeBron James (Video)

David Fizdale

David Fizdale has coached LeBron James as a Miami Heat assistant and against him as Memphis Grizzlies coach, so he knows a thing or two about his skillset.

Serving as a guest analyst for ESPN’s NBA playoff coverage, Fizdale had a great response when asked how he’d tell a player to defend James.

“Compete your butt off and I hope you’re a religious man, because you’re gonna need to say some prayers,” Fizdale said.

James is averaging 34.3 points, 9 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game this postseason, and he’s not off the floor much to give opponents a breather, either. Fizdale’s advice is probably the best they’re going to get.

Pau Gasol responds to David Fizdale’s rant

San Antonio Spurs big man Pau Gasol thinks the data could go both ways.

On Wednesday, the six-time All-Star responded to Memphis Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale’s post-Game 2 rant that his team wasn’t getting enough foul calls in their first-round series against the Spurs.

“I didn’t get to the free-throw line yet this series,” said Gasol, per Melissa Rohlin of the San Antonio Express-News. “I think he’s just trying to motivate his team, stand up for his team, that’s it. There’s no other twist about it. You have to get your team going, and you do it whichever way is necessary, I guess.

“I assume that a guy that has been 20-plus years, successful and has the status of coach Pop [Gregg Popovich], then I’m a guy who just comes into the league and gets a head coaching job, I might not get the same treatment,” he went on, pointing to Fizdale’s status as a first-year head coach. “I guess you have to earn it, I don’t know how certain things work. But, again, I’m not going to emphasize it, I’m not going to point it out. It is what it is.”

In his fiery rant (which you can view video of here), Fizdale took exception to a 32-15 foul shot discrepancy in favor of San Antonio in Game 2 and noted that Kawhi Leonard had more free throw attempts than the entire Grizzlies team. But as for Gasol, he indeed has yet to even attempt a single free throw in 55 minutes of action so far this series.

Nevertheless, Fizdale’s tirade has already become a rallying point for his team as they try to come back from an 0-2 deficit in the series. As such, Gasol, a 16-year NBA veteran, can at least appreciate the motivational element of the rant.

Report: Grizzlies players to reimburse David Fizdale for fine

David Fizdale

The Memphis Grizzlies have coach David Fizdale’s back for having theirs.

The NBA made the unsurprising announcement on Wednesday that Fizdale had been fined $30,000 for his rant criticizing the officiating after a loss to the San Antonio Spurs in Game 2 of their best-of-seven series earlier this week.

Ronald Tillery of the Commercial Appeal reports that the Grizzlies players will collectively reimburse Fizdale for his fine and notes that Mike Conley sent Fizdale a “thank you” text following the rant (which you can see video of here).

Fizdale also received an offer from a local Memphis business to pay off his fine, so it looks like his rant succeeded in rallying the team and their fanbase together as they attempt to climb out of an 0-2 hole.

Memphis company offers to pay David Fizdale’s fine

David Fizdale

David Fizdale’s rant about referees was well-received by a whole lot of people, including one Memphis business.

Memphis-based ServiceMaster, which operates brands such as Terminix, offered on Tuesday to pay any fine Fizdale got for his now-famous “take that for data” rant after the Memphis Grizzlies’ Game 2 loss to San Antonio.

Fizdale did, indeed, get fined for his outburst, but nobody seems to mind. The team itself has embraced Fizdale’s comments, and there’s no doubt that many fans would be happy to join with ServiceMaster in paying off the coach’s fine. Besides, if it gets him a more even refereeing performance in Game 3, it’ll be worth it.

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