Robert Pera is the owner of the Memphis Grizzlies; that is to say, he's the man at the epicenter of the NBA's strangest spectacle over the past week. CEO Jason Levien and assistant general manager Stu Lash were abruptly fired last week, and coach Dave Joerger seemed all but sure to hit the road and accept the Minnesota Timberwolves' vacant job. Instead, news broke Sunday night that Joerger would stay in Memphis despite the organizational turmoil.
As it turns out, Pera wanted to replace Joerger five games into his first season as a head coach, and Pera had some truly strange ideas as to how the team would move forward after hypothetically firing a coach with a 2-3 career record.
Grizzly Bear Blues
After the first five games of the season, Pera flew to Memphis and held individual meetings with players. In those meetings, he began offering a handful of suggestions, according to Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix, one of which was that Joerger should be fired as coach and replaced by player-coach Mike Miller.
Mike Miller once owned a monkey and took good care of it. Do you know how hard it is to take care of a monkey and what a management triumph primate ownership is even for something as small as a capuchin monkey? Were you aware that monkey biscuits are real and required because you cannot feed your monkey pizza and beer? Even though this would be hilarious? And that Mike Miller's monkey once escaped and rode his Great Dane down the street of his neighborhood? Mike Miller was committed and organized enough to do this until he had a child, after which he "got rid" of the monkey.
Spencer Hall, Grizzlies GM
Spencer Hall, Grizzlies GM
Little did anyone know Pera not only had the same idea, but he was expressing it out loud to other human beings as far back as the first week of November.
Pera also suggested Joerger could wear a headset on the sideline and take instruction — it's unclear who would instruct him — thus essentially replacing Joerger with an animatronic facsimile receiving input from a human controller.
Pera also took exception, according to the report, when Joerger only played Ed Davis for 88 seconds of floor time against the Golden State Warriors in a 108-90 Grizzlies win in the first game after Pera's reported meetings with players.
Mannix said one reason Joerger spurned the Timberwolves was because his relationship with Pera had been patched up (many other reasons include the Timberwolves' current roster and outlook, and the Grizzlies' current roster and outlook). If nothing else, the two sides have made it a long way since the team owner flew across the country in a panic to use his players as a sounding board for his insane ideas to replace or, at the very least, completely usurp the coach less than 10 percent through his first season on the job.