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NBA Rumors: Dave Joerger’s Job Safe?

Despite the massive shake ups in Memphis, Dave Joerger appears to be safe… Kevin Ollie staying at UConn… Serge Ibaka hoping to play against Spurs.

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Joerger safe

Via Twitter

On Monday the Grizzlies parted ways with CEO Jason Levien and assistant general manager Stu Lash. The franchise did take somewhat of a step backwards this season after making it to the Western Conference Finals in 2012-13, but they finished strong and nearly upset the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs. Considering they were just over a year into their new roles with the franchise, the departures of Levien and Lash were unexpected.

With them out, the status of head coach Dave Joerger and front office executive John Hollinger, who they handpicked, immediately came into question.

Clearly there’s been some type of major turmoil in the front office involving the team’s majority owner Robert Pera. What’s happened isn’t exactly clear, but the changes could continue. Joerger may be safe for now, but Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported that he was almost fired midseason. The team’s strong finish has bought him some time, but the livelihood of a NBA head coach has never been shorter and if Pera’s thought about doing it once already, he won’t hesitate to do so again.

Make sure to read: Spurs 122, Oklahoma City Thunder 105

Ollie staying put
No longer considering himself a candidate for NBA coaching jobs, University of Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie has agreed in principle to a $3 million-plus annual contract extension, sources told Yahoo Sports on Monday.
The deal could be worth more than $15 million over a five-year term, sources said.
via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports

After leading UConn to a national championship in just his second year after replacing Jim Calhoun, Ollie’s stock as a head coach has never been fired. The program was only willing to give him a year long contract for several hundred grand they when originally appointed him to succeed Calhoun. Now he’s one of the highest paid coaches in college basketball. UConn had to pay up because there were several teams across the league that were interested in Ollie, including the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, they were all rebuilding projects. Ollie has already led UConn back to prominence and is young enough to where he can pass on the NBA now knowing that plenty of offers will come in the future if he maintains the current pace that he’s on.

The deal is not official yet and buyout terms are unknown, but with it verbally agreed to we can take Ollie off of all the potential candidates lists he was on.

Make sure to read: Indiana Pacers-Miami HEAT Game 2 Preview

Ibaka trying to play

Ibaka is back in Oklahoma City for Games 1 and 2 – ruled out of the playoffs with a lower leg injury – but his willingness to play with pain, his loyalty to the championship cause, has him thinking about starting some stationary shooting late this week, a league source told Yahoo Sports on Monday.

via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports

From the Thunder’s perspective, they’re talking and preparing as if he’s done for the postseason. However, the Spurs are not allowing themselves to be caught off guard by a surprise return. Even going into Game 1 they questioned whether he was legitimately going to be out, but he was and they took advantage of his absence in a major way. They dominated in terms of points in the paint, shot a scorching 57 percent from the field and easily handled the Thunder 122-105.

This is the second year that the Thunder have been without a starter in the playoffs after losing Russell Westbrook in the first round last season. Even if Ibaka can just get out there and play some spare minutes every here and there, it could give the Thunder a boost in moral. Barring a miraculous recovery, it’s hard imagine him being able to provide much more than that.

Yannis Koutroupis is Basketball Insiders' Managing Site Editor and Senior Writer. He has been covering the NBA and NCAA for seven years.

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