On Sunday night, Coach David Fizdale and the New York Knicks will be facing the Memphis Grizzlies for the first time in the 2018-19 NBA season. Fizdale’s final season with the Grizzlies didn’t go well after he had a dispute with franchise center Marc Gasol. After benching him in the fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets, the Grizzlies’ organization decided to fire Fizdale as their head coach.
When the 2017-18 NBA season came to an end, David Fizdale became one of the most coveted free agent coaches in the league. It didn’t take long before he found his new job, where he agreed to mentor the rebuilding Knicks. Before the Knicks play against the Grizzlies, Fizdale talked about his relationship with Marc Gasol.
According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, Coach David Fizdale and Marc Gasol had already fixed the issue during a telephone conversation this summer. Fizdale revealed that, as of now, there’s no longer bad blood between him and Gasol and added that he was lucky to coach the veteran center.
“It was a fantastic conversation,” Fizdale said. “It was two men that evolved. That’s pretty cool to see a moment in your life, individually as a man where your life changed and you got better because of it, somebody made you better. I credit him for that. He made me a better coach. He made me a better person. I was lucky to be his coach.”
Marc Gasol shared the same sentiment as Fizdale and said that it was a lesson learned for him and his former head coach.
“We’re both appreciative, and we both understand that it wasn’t perfect,” Gasol said. “We both would have handled it differently, not last year but the year before when everything happened. We won’t let that happen again.”
A year later, no hard feelings between David Fizdale and Marc Gasol. “It's simple -- you live, you learn and you move on,” Gasol said. “We made peace with each other, and that's it." https://t.co/09gau77DVw— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) November 25, 2018
So far, Coach David Fizdale and Marc Gasol are heading in different directions. While the Knicks are currently in the middle of a rebuilding process and focused on developing their young players, the Grizzlies are aiming to make a huge impact in the deep Western Conference. So far, the Grizzlies are sitting in the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference with a 12-6 record. At 33, Gasol remains one of the most dominant big men in the league, averaging 17.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks on 46.0 percent shooting from the field, and 38.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Fizdale is happy with what he’s seeing with the Grizzlies under the mentorship of his close friend and former assistant, J.B. Bickerstaff. Fizdale admitted that he and Bickerstaff had huge differences when it comes to their approach with the team and coaching style. Fizdale strongly believes that Bickerstaff and the Grizzlies will finish strong in the 2018-19 NBA season.