They say coaches are hired to be fired, but Memphis might as well have handed Mike Fratello his pink slip during his introductory press conference only two seasons ago.
Instead, the Grizzlies waited until Thursday to give Fratello the boot, with the club wallowing at 6-24 and showing no signs of recovery. Critics complained about his deliberate offense and unpredictable rotations, and Fratello certainly deserves a place in line when it comes time to dish out blame for the problems of this train wreck of a franchise. But it doesn't take a genius to see that it's a long line.
The ownership situation has been an albatross, president of basketball operations Jerry West has made plenty of questionable personnel moves, injuries have thinned the roster's ranks, and many of the players have whined and sulked. Those things happened on Fratello's watch, but the Czar didn't light the fuse of this stink bomb. At the very least, he didn't act alone.