Grizzlies sign coach Joerger to contract extension
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Grizzlies owner Robert Pera has followed through with his promise to open up his checkbook by signing Dave Joerger to a contract extension just days after allowing the coach to speak to the Minnesota Timberwolves about their vacancy.
The Grizzlies announced Joerger’s extension Tuesday. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed by the team, but Joerger said on ESPN 92.9 FM in Memphis that owner Robert Pera guaranteed the fourth year of his contract with a fifth year a team option.
“He put his money right where his mouth is, and I put my money right where my mouth is ...,” Joerger said. “It’s good for both parties. Mike Conley and I were talking about we’ve been together for a long time brother. Now we’ve got another three, four, five year run on this deal.”
Pera wrote on Twitter that he finally had talked one-on-one with Joerger after his return from Minnesota where the coach interviewed twice in three days with the Timberwolves.
“Following an open and honest dialogue with Dave, it became clear that Dave was fully committed to Memphis and we are committed to him,” Pera said. “I look forward to seeing Dave build upon the foundation he helped establish over the last seven years, and we are both committed to bringing a championship to Memphis.”
Joerger went 50-32 for the best record among 10 first-year coaches and helped Memphis earn the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference during his first season on the job after being an assistant the previous six seasons. The Grizzlies lost in seven games to Oklahoma City in the first round of the playoffs.
But he was the Western Conference coach of the month in January and April, the only first-year coach to win the award twice since the NBA split into conferences in 20002-03. Joerger said three other teams called for permission to talk to him last week only to be turned down. The Minnesota native was allowed to talk to the Timberwolves and now is thanking Pera for believing in him.
“I am 100 percent committed to leading the Grizzlies and I could not be more proud to call Memphis home,” Joerger said.
Pera still has to decide who will be running the Grizzlies. General manager Chris Wallace currently is in charge temporarily, and the Grizzlies hold the No. 22 pick overall in the NBA Draft in a month. Zach Randolph has an option for the next season and signing him to an extension would give Memphis more space with the salary cap.
Joerger said Pera wants to be more involved in the franchise and knows exactly what he wants to do moving forward.
“I’m here to tell you this thing is going to be very positive,” Joerger said.