This is about as strange as it gets. According to a report by Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, the current rift between Memphis Grizzlies owner Robert Pera and coach Dave Joerger dates back to an incident last September in which Pera challenged Grizzlies guard Tony Allen to a game of one-on-one.
The genesis of the Joerger-Pera problems, according to league sources, dates back to last September. Pera — who fancies himself a pretty good player — challenged Tony Allen to a game of one-on-one. Allen, on Twitter, accepted.
The report continues…
The problem? Allen had lost interest. Joerger, a first-year head coach, didn’t like the idea of the game — like many in the organization he found it goofy and unbecoming of a professional team, according to sources — but it was Allen’s indifference that caused it to be called off. Yet Pera directed his frustration at Joerger and, according to a source, directed upper management to fire him.
Pera sounds a lot like a hands-on owner that simply has no clue about running a professional sports organization. If the reports are true that he directed upper management to fire Joerger in part due to the one-on-one basketball game falling through are true, how could any potential coach take this franchise seriously?
Speaking of being taken seriously. Pera attempted to respond to Mannix’ report.
At which point, Mannix responded.
@RobertPera Due respect, made multiple requests through the Grizz p.r. department. Ask Ross/Jason.
— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) May 26, 2014
As it is, Joerger is back with the Grizzlies after turning down the Minnesota Timberwolves job…at least for now. Reports indicate that the biggest issue preventing him from moving on is potential compensation the Timberwolves would have to throw Memphis’ way. It’s highly unlikely that Joerger will be back on the bench in Memphis next season.