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Grizzlies fire Fratello after 6-24 start

Grizzlies fire Fratello after 6-24 start

The NBA's Memphis Grizzlies fired coach Mike Fratello on Thursday after an NBA-worst 6-24 start.
The Grizzlies' career winningest coach, Fratello had a 95-83 record and had guided Memphis to consecutive playoff appearances. Tony Barone Sr., the Grizzlies' director of player personnel, was selected to be the interim coach.
Fratello started the season without All-Star center Pau Gasol of Spain, who broke his foot this summer in the world championships and missed the first 22 games.
Jerry West, Grizzlies president of basketball operations, announced the move, calling Fratello a great coach and friend.
"We just felt it was time to make a change and move in a different direction based on our record and future goals. We wish Mike the best in his future endeavors," West said in a statement.
The change was made following the Grizzlies' 112-96 home loss to Milwaukee on Wednesday night, the fifth straight defeat and 11th in 12 games for Memphis.
"In your own home court, you're getting booed and yelled at from your own fans," Gasol said. "It's just hard. There's too many defensive breakdowns right now, and too many easy layups right now. The whole thing is getting to our head, and it's affecting on every aspect of the game."
The Grizzlies started a youth movement this offseason, drafting Rudy Gay and Kyle Lowry for a more up-tempo pace. They traded veteran Shane Battier and let center Lorenzen Wright leave as a free agent.
But Fratello, who replaced Hubie Brown on Dec. 2, 2004, was criticized for sticking with a deliberate style. He took the Grizzlies to the playoffs the past two seasons but they were swept in the first round.
Barone, who has been a head coach in college but not in the NBA, will make his Grizzlies debut Saturday at home against Toronto. He was an assistant for the Grizzlies under Brown from 2002 to 2004.
The Grizzlies scheduled a news conference for Friday morning.


Updated : 2021-04-18 10:55 GMT+08:00