When the Nets fired Avery Johnson 28 games into the 2012-13 season, Johnson said his replacement would need more autonomy in coaching. “I just know when the coach comes in, he’s going to have to be able to do it his way. Hold everybody accountable, coach true to his style. That’s the way it’s going to have to be.”
Three years later, another point guard turned Nets coach turned unemployed had similar criticisms for Nets management.
Speaking with Sirius XM Radio (another former employer), the recently fired Lionel Hollins criticized his former employer for “micromanaging” his coaching.
According to the New York Post, who transcribed the interview:
“The main thing when you’re looking for a job is finding somebody that allows you to be you and lets you coach as you coach,” Hollins said on Sirius XM radio. “If you’re successful, great. If you’re not, get rid of him.
“But the micromanaging, the meddling of who should play and how you should talk to this guy and how you should talk to the media, what you should say or shouldn’t say because how it looks for the organization versus just speaking the truth — those things weigh on you when you spend so much time trying to massage everybody instead of just coaching.”
Hollins’s no-nonsense attitude had worn thin on those regularly around the team, and his blunt assessment of his players and team drew ire from the front office. It seemed at times that Hollins was resigned to the underwhelming talent he had been given, rather than looking to develop it. When the Nets lost to good teams, Hollins shrugged it off, and he rarely took blame until the end of his tenure for any issues with the team.
It was clear that outside forces had worked their way in. One example was when Vasily Karasev, a former professional basketball player and the father of little-used guard Sergey Karasev, criticized Hollins for not playing his son enough. Hollins put Karasev in the first quarter of the next game before once again banishing him back to the end of the rotation.
Hollins, without mentioning any specific instances, criticized today’s “sue-happy society” and put further blame on the marketing side of the organization, arguing that the team tried too hard to make players feel good about their situation but “(l)osing and being marketed will never make you feel good.”
“I think for me, a coach is the guy in charge. His relationship is the most important with the players,” Hollins said on SiriusXM. “I think GMs have tried and wanted to be closer with the players, the marketing people want to be closer with the players, and they want to sell, and they want the players to feel good about their experience. The only experience you can feel good about in this league is winning and having success. Losing and being marketed will never make you feel good.”
“We live in a society where every time something goes wrong, there has to be a blame,” Hollins said. “We live in a very sue-happy society, for lack of a better term. Not just in sports, but in all walks of life, somebody has got to be at fault anytime anything goes wrong. You go to Starbucks and you drink that coffee, and it’s too hot, you sue Starbucks.
The Nets, who were 10-27 at the time of Hollins’s oust, have gone an essentially identical 5-14 since, though their three-point shooting has increased dramatically since the firing.
New York Post — Lionel Hollins breaks Nets silence with ‘meddling’ jabs