After the Memphis Grizzlies were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals, the organization allowed former coach Lionel Hollins to talk to other teams earlier this month and reports had assistant coach Dave Joerger as a viable replacement. Weeks later, it became reality when they finally named Joerger the team’s head coach.
It has been reported that Joeger has a four-year deal that will pay him approximately $2 million per season, with the fourth year on the contract a team option.
The 39-year old Joerger made a name for himself in the IBA, CBA and D-League with the Cedar Rapids River Raiders, Dakota Wizards and Sioux Falls Skyforce winning five minor league championships. He was then hired by the Grizzlies in 2007 and then promoted to lead assistant and defensive coordinator by Hollins in 2011. Of course the Grizzlies have maintained one of the best defenses the past couple seasons, being ranked second last season in defensive efficiency allowing just 97.4 points per 100 possessions. They also featured the Defensive Player of the Year in Marc Gasol along with three All-Defense performers (Gasol, Mike Conley and Tony Allen).
Lionel Hollins and the new management (the team was sold to California tech billionaire Robert Pera in November) definitely didn’t see eye-to-eye. Hollins’ tenure in Memphis started to dissolve when his early criticisms of the analytic aspect of their new operation and the insistence that trading small forward Rudy Gay was a bad move.