NBA

Marc Gasol .

Memphis Grizzlies GM admits there was "tension" between Marc Gasol and David Fizdale

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The Memphis Grizzlies made the controversial decision to part company with head coach David Fizdale with the team currently on a nine-game losing streak.

The firing was met with shock around the NBA world with players, analysts and media members criticising the franchise.

In their most recent loss, Fizdale elected to keep star player Marc Gasol on the bench for the entire fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets and the Spaniard made his feelings perfectly clear to reporters after the game.

With the young coach relieved of his duties just a day later, it inevitably led many people to jump to the conclusion that the center had a part to play in that outcome.

According to Ronald Tillery of the Commercial Appeal, the former Defensive Player of the Year denies having any influence over the team's decision to dismiss Fizdale and claims he only found out about it after it was announced.

“Nobody likes to see a coaching change during the season,” Gasol said. “I was a little bit shocked by it… Nobody likes to be in the situation we’re in. And we were not finding a way to win collectively. We were breaking apart.

Memphis Grizzlies v Dallas Mavericks

"Me and David didn’t see everything eye-to-eye all the time. But we both had the same intentions of making the team a collective, really strong unit. We couldn’t find a way to do that.

“I found out (about the Fizdale firing) from Robert. They called me after the decision was made to let me know the direction they were going.

General manager Chris Wallace also revealed that there was "tension" between Memphis' franchise player and former head coach.

"There was tension between the two. This is a factor but it's not the overriding factor," he said. "We talked to Marc in real time about the same time we talked to Coach Fizdale."

Dallas Mavericks v Memphis Grizzlies

Wallace also jumped to the defense of Gasol saying it wasn't "fair" to label the three-time All-Star a coach killer.

He explained that the organization took the decision in an effort to "save the season".

The GM also interestingly stated that Fizdale was "hardly the first Grizzlies coach to be concerned" about the influence Gasol had on the organization and management.

Ex-coach Dave Joerger was also believed to have had problems with Gasol and at one point during his tenure in Tennessee told the team's beat writer: “I think Marc’s trying to get me fired.”

Sacramento Kings v Detroit Pistons

This could have a huge effect on their search for a successor as there will be serious questions about stability.

J.B. Bickerstaff has been placed in charge on an interim basis but the season is already turning into a farce for the Grizzlies and it's unclear what direction they're heading in.

Topics:
Memphis Grizzlies
Southwest Division
Western Conference
NBA
Marc Gasol
Mike Conley

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