All indications had Timberwolves president Flip Saunders on the cusp of filling his team's head coach vacancy. That is until Dave Joerger, one of the more league's more engaging coaches, decided to stay put.
Following conversations with Grizzlies owner Robert Pera, Joerger has decided to stick with Memphis according to multiple reports. This counts as an upset considering the tumultuous off-season in Memphis with several members of the front office including the general manager apparently forced out.
Minnesota, which is dealing with Kevin Love trade rumors, recently received permission to interview Joerger. Apparently those talks went swimmingly enough that the franchise reportedly wanted Joerger to replace former coach Rick Adelman. Considering the changes in Memphis, this seemed likely to happen.
Based on the thoughts of ProBasketballTalk's Brett Pollakoff, perhaps it still is:
"The Grizzlies still have Joerger in place on a guaranteed deal for two more years at $2 million each, and the Timberwolves know that the desire in Memphis is to cut him loose. That means Minnesota is in a position to sit back and wait for Joerger to become available without offering anything at all in terms of compensation — not even a future second round draft pick, which seems to be a small price to pay.
"It’s a game of chicken now, which could very well still land Joerger in Minnesota before this is through. If ownership indeed reached out to Joerger to tell him his job is safe, then it’s understandable that he’d want to stay. But it still seems as though it may take a bit longer for all of this to work itself out."
For the most part, all indications have Joerger, who went 50-32 in his first season with the Grizzlies after taking over for Lionel Hollins, staying with Memphis. That coaching swap took place as part of the original shakeup in Memphis, one that had the organization going down a heavy advanced stats path.
The reason for the earlier engaging reference involved Joerger's willingness to talk basketball with reporters when Memphis visited Washington on March 3. Several first-year head coaches joined the NBA ranks this season. Collectively, they were a group of talkers. At least we can classify them as a patient group as they answered question after question during pre-game chats, whether the topics involved recent win-loss results, player performance or more broad subjects.
In the case of Joerger, that included whether he talked advanced stats with his players on a regular basis.
“No, it’s not something that we talk about. You know, players don’t really care. They look at the wider scope, bigger picture stuff. So, like tonight, I don’t think it’s advanced analytics to say that Washington is really good in the first quarter. You know what I’m saying? It’s just stats… That word ‘analytics’ can mean like it’s just some ‘rocket science’ term. It’s just stats.
“But yeah, some of that stuff I’ll use every night. But nothing really, really advanced. I don’t sit a player down and say, ‘You know, I’m going to play you more because the numbers are really in your favor’… You know, they don’t understand that stuff. Not saying that they don’t understand, they just don’t have a real interest in it … like we all do. It’s just easier to make it simpler than being intricate with them.”
This is a snippet from that lengthy discussion. Sounds like one way or another there will be an opportunity for another chat with Joerger next season and apparently when the Grizzlies come back to town.