The Memphis Grizzlies fired coach David Fizdale on Monday, one day after the team dropped to 7-12 on the season, including eight straight losses. Associate head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, who was 37-34 as an interim coach with the Houston Rockets in 2015-16, has been promoted to interim head coach. Fizdale’s firing comes after his tepid relationship with All-Star center Marc Gasol reached a low point with Gasol’s fourth-quarter benching in a loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday night.

Gasol, given a maximum deal by the Grizzlies in July 2015, leads the Grizzlies in points, rebounds and assists, and he was an All-Star in Fizdale’s inaugural season. But the center spent plenty of time after the game making it clear to reporters how upset he was at sitting out a full quarter. Fizdale explained his decision before Gasol spoke in the locker room and said he simply was trying to win a game while sticking with his reserves. Fizdale said taking a risk as head coach means sometimes upsetting a player or two.

Gasol’s brother, Pau Gasol of the San Antonio Spurs, insisted after the news broke that Marc Gasol was not the driving force behind the decision to replace Fizdale. “Marc is a competitor and he wants to play,” Pau Gasol said. “Now with Mike [Conley] out, he’s the guy without question. For him not to go back in that fourth quarter, was not OK. Obviously you read the comments after the game that I also read on It’s weird the timing of it. I don’t think Marc had anything to do with the decision.”

Fizdale’s firing caught the NBA by surprise. Dwyane Wade, who played with the Miami Heat when Fizdale was an assistant coach, wrote on Twitter that he needed answers. LeBron James retweeted a comment on Twitter calling the firing so stunning that the writer triple-checked the original report by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski to make sure he wasn’t being duped by a fake account.

Fizdale became the franchise’s 13th head coach on May 29, 2016, compiling a 50-51 record in his tenure. He is owed $3 million for the 2018-19 season on his contract, league sources told ESPN. The Grizzlies possessed a team option for the 2019-20 season, the final of his original four-year contract. The Grizzlies advanced to the Western Conference playoffs last season under Fizdale, going 43-39 in the regular season. The Grizzlies have scheduled a news conference with Bickerstaff for Tuesday at 10 a.m.

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