I don't know if any of you guys have caught the press conference that announced Mike Fratello as the new head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies. It was one of the oddest things I've seen in a while in one of those press dealings.
Most of the time, no matter what the deal is....there is the "we're lucky to get this guy and lets build this future together!" feel about the press room that even glows on televsion.
Not this one. Jerry West looked very saddened...and quite depressed. This could be a clue into the severity of ex-Grizz coach Hubie Brown's "medical issues". Maybe it is quite serious. Maybe that is why the delay in getting The Czar in there. Maybe that's why the Grizz are 0-4 since Brown's retirement. All of this is speculation...but it does deserve noting.
One thing I also noticed.....West looks like he's out of Memphis pretty soon as well.
Watching The Logo at this news conference....you'd swear he was on the verge on making some sort of "surprise announcement". That is pretty much the only reason I even watched this news conference. I'm watching Jason Giambi's testimony and Ricky Williams re-retiring....and then this news conference comes on. I'd normally turn it off...but West just had this look about him.
He muttered and sputtered with his words. He also looked like he'd been thru complete hell. Whether it is Brown's condition...or even his own....he didn't look right. And when he introduced Fratello...he sort of did it in a "well, here's our coach" manner.
All of us here love Jerry West. I never got to see him as a player....and was too young to know him as a coach. To me, he is THE GM of all GMs. Our great 80s Laker teams....and that huge, huge, huge gamble of moving our entire roster to bring in Shaq. That could have backfired greatly. He left us after seeing his creation win titles. You can blame that on Phil Jackson if you will [West has also fueded at times with Hubie Brown about Bonzi Wells playing time]. You can blame it on the pressure of helming one of sports glamourous franchises. You can blame it on maybe West seeing the Kobe-Shaq cracks in the armor and didn't want to deal with rebuilding the Lakers again....just look what its done to Kupchak.
There are rumblings of Jerry West retiring after this season. A season in which the Grizzlies aren't doing too well. A 50-win team last year that was built on depth, chemistry and a group of guys out to prove themselves...has turned into just another team. I've always felt that depth is overrated. Depth isn't as big in the playoffs when you don't have back-to-back games. Their chemistry has been tested a bit. And those guys who were out to prove themselves have cashed in nicely [Gasol, Battier, Swift].
It isn't as bad as the Mike Bibby/Shareef Abdur Rahim/Bryant Reeves days....but in the Wild West that have seen the Hornets reduced to a 1-13 team....it is tough to try to fight back.
I hope all is well in the health of both Jerry West and Hubie Brown. I hope that their retirements will be spent with family and leisures. I also hope that neither use "retirement" as a means to stay completely away from the NBA.
We need people like that around the game in some form or another.