May 8, 2016 / 4:36 AM / a year ago

Joerger axing underlines lack of job security in the coaching box

Dec 16, 2014; Memphis, TN, USA; Dave Joerger at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - If the National Basketball Association’s 2015-16 campaign has revealed anything about coaching, it is that no job can be considered safe any more.

The Memphis Grizzlies dismissed coach Dave Joerger on Saturday, a move which would have come as a surprise in any other season bar this one.

Joerger, who had been with the franchise since becoming an assistant in 2007, enjoyed three winning seasons and recently pushed the Grizzlies to a third consecutive playoff appearance, despite serious injuries to key players.

Those achievements were not enough, however, to secure his job.

“After careful consideration, I concluded that a change was needed to foster the strong culture required to achieve sustainable, long-term success for this organization, the city and our fans,” Memphis general manager Chris Wallace said in a statement.

Changes to the faces in the coaching box have come fast and furious almost since the opening tipoff.

In November, the Houston Rockets sacked Kevin McHale despite his having led them to the Western Conference Finals the previous year.

David Blatt got Cleveland to the NBA Finals last summer but that could not save him from being ousted by the Cavaliers in January.

In all, there were five coaching changes prior to the All Star Break.

The terminations have come even more frequently in recent months, and included yet more head-scratchers.

It was no surprise to see the Los Angeles Lakers cut ties with Byron Scott but Indiana’s removal of Frank Vogel was by no means predictable.

Vogel was yet another playoff winning coach who seemed to have the ear of his players, but clearly not the management.

George Karl can blame his exit from Sacramento on his difficult relationship with franchise player DeMarcus Cousins, and he essentially did when speaking about his tenure recently.

“I never felt I got into a good place with (Cousins),” Karl told reporters.

“Some of that was my stupidity when I said that no player is untradeable. I‘m old school enough to think that a coach has to feel powerful, has to feel supported.”

Old school or new, successful or not, few NBA coaches are feeling powerful these days, knowing that the ax could fall on them next.

Editing by Nick Mulvenney

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