There is a lot of buzz around the coaching future of Lionel Hollins — he just led the Memphis Grizzlies to the conference finals, but the buzz around the league is he has coached his last game in Memphis. The team gave him permission to talk to other franchises.
Except, ideally, he’d keep his old job.
Reports are talks stalled out on his new deal in Memphis — there is a new ownership and a new front office that is more analytics driven and that is not a perfect fit with the old-school Hollins — but Hollins told Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports what he has told others, he wants to stay where he is.
“I hope things can work out and I think things can work out,” Hollins told Yahoo! Sports on Monday. “I’m happy in Memphis. I’ve been there for a long time. My kids went to school in Memphis. My son graduated as a doctor in Memphis. My daughter is a grad student at the University of Memphis.
“I love the city of Memphis and really want to be there. I have no reason to want to leave.”
Hollins has yet to speak to other teams, but the Clippers and Nets are known to be interested if he decides to look outside Memphis.
The difference in philosophies between Hollins and the front office came up with the Rudy Gay trade. Fans of the NBA’s new school analytics liked the trade or at least said that it wouldn’t hurt the team on the court and would save them money (that was PBT’s take, for the record). Hollins came out and publicly slammed the trade. You can imagine how well that went over in the front office.
But the combo worked — Memphis became a better team without Gay’s inefficient offense and the old-school Hollins led that adjustment while not sacrificing any defense.
There is a sense that Memphis’ front office believes assistant coach Dave Joerger can step into the job. But Memphis has gotten better year over year due to consistency, and Hollins and his style are part of that. A change of coaches, even in house, can disrupt that.
Nonetheless, things seem to be moving toward Hollins walking a sideline not in Memphis next season.