An NBA head coaching position is a political job. There is the tactical work and the player development and in-game maneuvering, and all that is important. But the job demands subtlety and personality and prestige, too. There are stars to woo and franchise players to mollify. There is a team to coach; and a front office and owner to manage up.
Fizdale is not teflon. His handling of Marc Gasol left him without a job last November. The relationship was rocky, according to reports and confirmed by league sources. Fizdale was not blameless. He brought up his time with the Heat and how it worked during his championship days there, which wore on his audience. He diminished Gasol’s international accomplishments with Spain’s national team. That Gasol was close to Grizzlies owner Robert Pera likely did not help his cause.