Tayshaun Prince, Mike Conley, Lionel Hollins

New Nets coach Lionel Hollins. (AP)

Lionel Hollins spent parts of seven seasons with the Grizzlies franchise, both in Vancouver and Memphis. But what have his players and co-workers said about him?

Here's a collection of quotes from Grizzlies players, former executives, and one assistant coach that Hollins had a rift with, about Hollins's style and impact.
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Paul Pierce, Doc Rivers

Pierce & Doc Rivers... reunited? (AP)

The Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers are laying the framework for a sign-and-trade deal that would send Paul Pierce to the Clippers, according to Ohm Youngmusik and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.
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AP

AP

Brooklyn Nets free agent Paul Pierce might hit his 37th birthday in October, but that doesn't mean he won't have his suitors. Nearly a quarter of the league has contacted Pierce regarding his free agency: the Portland Trail Blazers, Memphis Grizzlies, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, and Los Angeles Clippers, according to Marc Stein of ESPN:
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Lionel Hollins

On how new Nets coach Lionel Hollins will fare. (AP)


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Lionel Hollins

Lionel Hollins (AP)

The Brooklyn Nets have reached an agreement in principle to a four-year deal with former Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins, the team officially announced today.
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Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd, new Bucks coach. (AP)

If there were awards given out for self-awareness, Jason Kidd would wonder why he hasn't won one yet.
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UPDATE: Marc Stein reports that the Nets are wrapping up a deal with Lionel Hollins to be their next head coach:

ESPN's Marc Stein is reporting that the Nets are "closing in" on hiring former Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins.

Stein is also adding that the Nets and Hollins are hammering out a multi-year contract that will pay him at least $4-million annually.

In the 2012-13 season, his final with the Grizzlies, Hollins led the team to 56 wins and to the Western Conference Finals. His Grizzlies saw the playoffs in each of last three years with the team. He was let go due to "philosophical differences" between him and ownership.

In the ESPN New York article, Stein says:

Sources say the Nets wanted to move quickly in the wake of the Kidd saga and lasered in on Hollins immediately, meeting with him Monday and Tuesday.

Hollins has been a favorite of Nets officials for some time and was pursued by Brooklyn to serve as an assistant to Kidd after the in-season departure of Lawrence Frank, but the former Grizzlies coach was determined to wait for a head-coaching opportunity. Hollins was also chased hard this spring by the Houston to serve as the top aide to Rockets coach Kevin McHale in the event that he didn't land a top position.

Nets general manager Billy King, during an appearance Wednesday on ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike," said experience would be key when making the team's next head-coaching hire.

"One, I think we're looking for experience, someone we'll build with for a long time," King said. "Someone who can develop young players, develop veterans and have a tough mindset. But someone also who has the experience who can take us to where we want to go."

On Tuesday, King praised Hollins' work in Memphis.

"If you look at track record and what he did in Memphis, they consistently got better every year," he said.

A deal with Hollins would cap a tumultuous week for the Nets.

Stay tuned.

 

Though there's no official deal yet, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated reports that signs point toward an agreement forthcoming between the Brooklyn Nets and top coaching candidate Lionel Hollins:

With free agents quickly making decisions in the NBA moratorium period, it makes sense that the Nets want to push their coaching decision through quickly. But that doesn't mean this will be done tonight or tomorrow, especially if they want to do their due diligence.

 

Brooklyn Nets free agent guard Shaun Livingston will head to the Golden State Warriors for a three-year deal worth approximately $16 million, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The deal is for the full mid-level exception.

It was unlikely that the Nets would retain Livingston, given their ability to only offer him the taxpayer mid-level exception, worth roughly $10 million over three years. Brooklyn's inability to sign Livingston to a bigger deal was a major factor in his departure, according to David Aldridge:

The third deal is partially guaranteed, according to a report by USA TODAY SPORTS.

Livingston had the best season of his career in Brooklyn, averaging 8.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in 26 minutes per game. He also put up career highs in games played, games started, steals, steals per game, points, and player efficiency rating.

Go get 'em, Livingston. For Warriors fans, check out our exclusive feature with Livingston, in which he explains how his upbringing as a biracial kid in a city largely separated on the lines of racial and social classes, below. He also breaks down how he sees the floor in real time.

The Anatomy of Perspective: Shaun Livingston, the visionary

 

Farewell, sweet Blatche

Farewell, sweet Blatche.

RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Shortly after the beginning of the free agency moratorium period, Billy King confirmed that the Nets reached out to all of their free agents -- except Andray Blatche.

"No," King said flatly, when asked specifically about if he'd contacted Blatche, after confirming that he'd contacted the rest of the team's free agents. A source confirmed to The Brooklyn Game that the Nets won't make Blatche an offer in free agency.

The Nets have four players hitting free agency this offseason: Blatche, Shaun Livingston, Paul Pierce, and Alan Anderson. The Nets own Blatche's early Bird rights, meaning they can offer him a four-year deal worth the league average salary.

But the Nets soured on Blatche, given his issues with conditioning and inconsistent play. In December, Blatche was internally suspended from the team for four games by then-head coach Jason Kidd.

The Nets already have significant depth at center, with Brook Lopez returning to a rotation that includes NBA sophomore Mason Plumlee and 20-year veteran Kevin Garnett.

Blatche was Brooklyn's major reclamation project: after getting amnestied by Washington one year into a four-year contract, the Nets picked Blatche up for a veteran's minimum contract and watched him turn in the two best seasons of his career. Blatche averaged 18.3 points per 36 minutes in two seasons, the highest of any player with at least 140 games played and fewer than 20 starts.

There were rumors earlier in the offseason that Blatche and the New Orleans Pelicans had mutual interest, but that was before the Pelicans struck a deal for Houston Rockets center Omer Asik, likely filling that role. Blatche later put up an Instagram post indicating his desire to return to the Nets if the two sides could strike a deal, which he later deleted.

 

Billy King (AP)

Billy King (AP)

RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Billy King had every right to scream and shout, to bemoan his former coaching prodigy and throw him under the bus. After what Jason Kidd had done to leave this franchise, no one would have blamed him.

He didn't.

"I wish him the best of luck," King said. "I wish him, his family, Porschla and the kids, I think he’s got a great future as a coach."

Wait, really?

"I think the franchise has to be bigger than one person," King said. "I don’t think if you use the ledger of the (New York) Yankees, I don’t think they sat there and said, OK, when they were losing great players over the years that the Yankees were going to fold. No one person, and this is not just talking about Jason, but no one person can be bigger than a franchise or an organization because an organization has got to stand on itself. Players come, coaches come, ownerships come and go but the brand of the Nets will stay.

"I always feel like a team is not the coach or the players or the ownership, it is the fans. They are what the team is about. They are the ones who support, they are the ones that pay tickets, they are people, Mr. Whammy has been here through ownerships and players and different things but he comes because it’s the Nets. He is not coming because it’s Jason Kidd or Billy King or Prokhorov or Bruce Ratner. He is coming because he’s a Nets fan. And that’s how you look at it, people have a loyalty to the brand and not an individual."

Kidd reportedly went over King's head in the front office and demanded to, in essence, take his job overseeing basketball operations. But King said there were no philosophical differences between he and Kidd that he knew of. "There were times that we probably butted heads a little bit, but that happens when you are in management and coaching situations."

Despite some obvious hints of disdain, King refused to "sling mud" at Kidd. "I’m going to keep (my feelings) personal," he said. "At this point, there’s no point in putting those out here. As far as my feelings, my family knows, (Nets PR VP Gary Sussman) probably knows, (Nets PR rep) Aaron (Harris probably knows. There’s no reason to sling any mud here. It happened. I wish Jason and his family very well."

But amidst all the politically correct answers about Kidd's abilities as a coach, one criticism slipped through: King did acknowledge that Kidd's departure wasn't perfect.

"The timing may not have been right, the way it happened may not have been right, but I hope for Jason that he's happy at the end of the day."