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Dave Joerger Being Eyed by Minnesota Timberwolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves obtained permission from the Memphis Grizzlies on May 21 to interview head coach Dave Joerger for their own coaching vacancy.

May 22 2014, 1:15am CDT | by

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Dave Joerger Being Eyed by Minnesota Timberwolves

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Dave Joerger Being Eyed by Minnesota Timberwolves

Dave Joerger Being Eyed by Minnesota Timberwolves
Photo credit: Getty Images

The Minnesota Timberwolves are eyeing Memphis Grizzlies mentor Dave Joerger to be their head coach. 

Joerger, a Minnesota native, has emerged as a prime candidate to take over the retired Rick Adelman as the Timberwolves' mentor, per Jerry Zgoda of The Minneapolis Star Tribune. 

"Somewhere in Dave Joerger's personal library of basketball research besides a notebook or two filled with his observations from Timberwolves training camp practices at St. John's University a decade ago.

"The Memphis Grizzlies coach and Minnesota native might need to find them sometime soon, if only to preserve as a keepsake. 

"A dedicated minor league coach who admired Wolves coach Flip Saunders' teaching methods back then, Joerger on Thursday is expected to meet with Saunders about the Wolves' coaching vacancy. 

"Relatively soon thereafter he could be named the team's 11th head coach, an NBA source said Wednesday.

"The Wovles received the Grizzlies' permission to interview Joerger, who just completed his first season as an NBA head coach by leading Memphis to 50 victories. The Grizzlies then lost in seven games to (the) Oklahoma City (Thunder) in the first round of the playoffs. 

"Raised in Staples, Minn., and college educated in Moorhead, Joerger, 40, has bypassed former Wolves player and former Toronto coach Sam Mitchell as the leading candidate for a job that opened last month when Rick Adelman retired at season's end. 

"Wolves owner Glen Taylor championed Mitchell for the job the last time around, when Adelman was hired in 2011, and is believed to favor him again."

According to Andy Greder of The St. Paul Pioneer Press, Joerger is on a four-year deal with Memphis with a base salary of $1.5 million. 

Greder then discusses Joerger's relationship with Saunders, the Timberwolves' president of basketball operations. 

"Joerger and Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders have a relationship from when Saunders coached the Wolves. Joerger attended Wolves training camps at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn., and took copious amounts of notes on Saunders' strategies. 

"'That is really when I did become a big fan of the Timberwolves,' Joerger said during a visit to Target Center last season. 

"He then praised Saunders specifically. 

"'He was always so gracious, if ever I called or needed anything,' Joerger said. 'He has been a big impact on me as far as my philosophy goes. I think, offensively, he has a great mind. He's certainly not the only one, but proximity-wise, it's been a big deal for me.'"

A May 21 ESPN update reveals Grizzlies owner Robert Pera had showed signs of discontent with Joerger during the 2013-14 season, even mulling dismissing him as the team got off to a slow start. The article also includes snippets of an interview with Memphis general manager Chris Wallace. 

"On Monday, sources told ESPN.com that Pera expressed internal dismay with Joerger early in the season and contemplated firing him before the Grizzlies steadied themselves after Marc Gasol returned from injury.

"A source told (ESPN's Ramona) Shelburne that Memphis did not discuss possible compensation with Minnesota before granting it permission to interview Joerger. But the Grizzlies are expected to ask for it if Joerger indeed becomes the Wolves' choice, which could become a potential stumbling block. 

"'The Timeberwolves are the only team of the 30 in the league that are in his home state and after having a long and honest conversation with Dave, he felt he owed it to his family, which resides entirely in Minnesota...and we felt we owed it to Dave to at least have a discussion in this regard,' Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace told ESPN 92.9 FM in Memphis. 

"Asked if that was best for the Grizzlies, Wallace said he didn't see anything wrong with granting Joerger the chance to talk.

"'He's just been granted permission to talk and will do so soon,' said Wallace, who has assumed interim watch over the basketball operations while Pera restructures the front office." 

Greder also adds former Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks head coach Scott Skiles has expressed an interest to resume his NBA coaching career. However, Skiles' agent, Keith Glass, has yet to receive any feelers from any interested teams. 

For more of the hottest sports news, log on to Sport Balla today. 

 

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Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.

 

 

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