As the curtain closed on the Memphis Grizzlies season last night, courtesy of a 93-86 game loss and 4-0 sweep at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs, a new window opened for the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets are expected to request an interview with Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins about their open coaching position, perhaps as early as today.
Hollins, who reportedly made $2.3 million this season, does not have a contract beyond this season with the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies can only deny other teams from interviewing Hollins until June 30. The Los Angeles Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks are also reportedly interested in Hollins, though the Nets and Clippers are considered the frontrunners.
Hollins would like to stay in Memphis. “I hope things get worked out quickly,” Hollins texted Yahoo! Sports’s Marc Spears after the game. “I love our team and the possibilities.”
Hollins is one of the coaches on Brooklyn’s list of candidates, which also includes Indiana Pacers assistant Brian Shaw. The Pacers are still in the playoffs, down 2-1 to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. Because of the Pacers playoff run, the Nets will most likely wait on their final decision.
Hollins is considered an “old-school” coach, one that preaches feel and player development over analytics, though he does employ Dave Joerger as one of his assistants in Memphis. Joerger is one of the leaders in the analytic field. The Grizzlies also have famed ESPN analytics writer John Hollinger in their front office.
This is Hollins’s second stint with Memphis (the first lasted just four interim games), and they’ve increased their regular season winning percentage in each year Hollins has been at the helm. This year, the Grizzlies had the second-best defense in the league and the Defensive Player of the Year in Marc Gasol. Both Gasol and forward Zach Randolph explicitly told Spears that they want Hollins back next season, praising him as “the right fit” and “a great part of where (they) are today.”