Best to avoid tumultuous offseason like Memphis

Best to avoid tumultuous offseason like Memphis
May 21, 2014, 4:30 pm
Share This Post

This is why making changes isn't always a good thing, especially if a franchise already is on the path to winning. The Memphis Grizzlies have won 106 regular-season games in the last two years, advanced to the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history one season ago and that success has produced the firing of a head coach, the possible firing of his successor and the firings of a CEO and assistant general manager. 

This is the surest way to run away your best players and keep desirable free agents at arm's length. When David West was a free agent with the then-New Orleans Hornets, he cited the franchise's instability with ownership as the No. 1 reason -- not Chris Paul's flight to the West coast -- why he was looking elsewhere. He went to the Indiana Pacers, who eliminated the Wizards in six games of the East semifinals. 

The Wizards could learn a thing or two from this. They'd be wise to keep continuity with a team that won 44 games, their best record in nine years, and grabbed a No. 5 seed. That means retaining coach Randy Wittman, president Ernie Grunfeld and key free agents Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza. 

Yes, upgrades are needed with the roster, such as finding another player who can create his shot off the dribble, but this franchise finally has a similar grit-and-grind, defense-first identity that Memphis has prided itself on since it paired Zach Randolph with Marc Gasol. The Grizzlies are more physical. The Wizards have better shooters. 

But Memphis had a change in ownership when the recently deceased Michael Heisley sold the franchise to new majority owner Robert Pera a year ago. Pera fired coach Lionel Hollins after a franchise-record 56 wins and a run to the conference finals. Dave Joerger won 50 games as coach despite injuries to their best defender Tony Allen, Mike Conley and Gasol, and pushed the Oklahoma City Thunder to seven games in a first-round series, and even he has been on the hot seat after just one season. Now they've given Joerger permission to interview with the Minnesota Timberwolves so he's on his way out, too. 

The Grizzlies likely will remain in complete disarray when this summer is over. Wittman, who already has the full support of John Wall, Nene, Al Harrington, Andre Miller and Bradley Beal among others, should have job security in the form of a multi-year deal soon. 

If you're a free agent which location, in terms of winning long-term, is more attractive to you now? Memphis has a much better recent history but Washington's outlook is brighter. 

The only thing that instability promises is uncertainty -- and a path back to losing. 

More Team Talk