The NBA’s Southwest Division has added two new coaches in the last couple of days, and filled the league’s final two coaching vacancies. On Thursday, the Memphis Grizzlies made their decision official to hire Miami Heat assistant David Fizdale. The Houston Rockets soon followed suit and announced their intention of hiring Philadelphia 76ers assistant Mike D’Antoni as their new coach.

Photo: Issac Baldizo/Getty Images
Photo: Issac Baldizo/Getty Images

David Fizdale has been an assistant with the Heat for 8 seasons under Eric Spoelstra. This will be his first opportunity as a head coach at any level.

Fizdale is from Los Angeles and played college basketball for San Diego from 1992-1996. He quickly became an assistant coach at San Diego where he stayed another four years from 1998-2002.

After his time at San Diego, he accepted an assistant job at Fresno State. He was at Fresno two years before taking his first NBA assistant job with Golden State in 2004. He would quickly move on again, this time accepting an assistant job with the Atlanta Hawks, where he stayed four years until accepting the Heat job in 2008.

It’s widely believed around the league that the time for Fizdale to get a head coaching gig is overdue. He has had players lobbying for him for awhile, and several players came out in support of him getting the Memphis job, including former Grizzly and Heat player, Beno Udrih. He was not the only player giving his endorsement as several other players that have played for Fizz took to Twitter…

 

The Houston Rockets went the way of experience when deciding on their next head coach. Mike D’Antoni has been around the league 40 years. They were also showing interest in Spurs assistant James Borrego, and Hornets assistant Stephen Silas

Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

D’Antoni began his NBA career as a player with the San Antonio Spurs in 1976. He continued to play in Italy until 1990. After his playing days were done, he quickly began his coaching career with the same Olimpia Milano team he ended his playing career with. 

After a series of one year gigs in Italy and the NBA, he finally settled in for his most well known stretch as an NBA coach with the Phoenix Suns in 2003. His success in Phoenix saw Steve Nash win two MVP’s, and the birth of “7 Seconds or Less”, named after his up-tempo offensive style. 

He then went to the Knicks for four years and saw the demolition project that Isiah Thomas, the President of Basketball Operations, was constructing in New York. That didn’t breed any kind of success obviously. He then accepted the job as Lakers head coach in 2012, where he was almost a lame duck coach. He was not the preferred hire by Kobe Bryant or many Laker fans. The reunion with Steve Nash didn’t work out as well as hoped, and several Laker players were critical of D’Antoni’s system, including Kobe, Dwight Howard, and Pau Gasol. Ironically, D’Antoni finds himself reunited with Dwight Howard, for now. 

Both Fizdale and D’Antoni are looking at 3-year deals with their new teams, and both Memphis and Houston have options for a fourth year. Both deals are still being finalized.

Memphis will most likely have a press conference on Tuesday, after the holiday, to announce Fizdale as their new coach. 

 

Brandon Reid covers the NBA for MyFantasySportsTalk.com | Follow him on Twitter @New_Breid

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