LeBron James and David Fizdale developed a close bond during their time together with the Miami Heat—winning two NBA championships and going to four straight NBA Finals will do that to a player and a coach.
The Memphis Grizzlies then hired the former Heat assistant as their head coach ahead of the 2016-17 season. A trip to the playoffs and 101 regular season games later, Memphis gave Fizdale the axe on Monday.
Memphis has fired coach David Fizdale, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 27, 2017
James and fellow former and current members of the Heat weren’t happy.
I need some answers. Feels like my man was a fall guy
— LeBron James (@KingJames) November 27, 2017
I need answers!!! WTF https://t.co/z39oNRQok0
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) November 27, 2017
— Hassan Whiteside (@youngwhiteside) November 27, 2017
Fizdale’s firing came a day after Marc Gasol, the only Grizzly who’s made an All-Star team, was benched for the fourth quarter of a loss to the Brooklyn Nets, their eighth consecutive defeat.
“At the end of the day, I’m as competitive as anybody,” Gasol said on Sunday. “I hate not playing, that’s what I value most. If I’m not on the floor, that means I’m not valued. I’m sure they knew that would hurt me the most. … I’m sure they wouldn’t do it to Mike (Conley).”
A Grizzlies source didn’t deny to the Commercial Appeal that the relationship had played a role in Fizdale’s firing.
— Trevor (@tdanginc) November 27, 2017
I’m sure Coach Blatt needed some answers too
— Kyle Price (@PriceKyle) November 27, 2017
Marc Gasol got him fired just like you got David Blatt fired. The players have the power in the NBA. You already know this.
— Jake Lake (@JakeLake720) November 27, 2017
As Fiz would say: That that for data!