Lionel Hollins

Grizzlies don’t renew Lionel Hollins’ contract


UPDATE 10:16 pm: The Grizzlies have made this official with a statement from the team.

“After a thorough internal process, which included conversations with Lionel and his representatives, we decided as an organization to move in a different direction,” Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien said in a statement. “On behalf of the Grizzlies organization I would like to thank Lionel for his service and hard work in helping this organization throughout his years in Vancouver and Memphis.”

7:18 pm: Lionel Hollins said he remained hopeful he could remain the Grizzlies’ coach, but that has long seemed like a longshot. Now, it seems this sticky situation has finally reached its conclusion.

Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal:

Hollins had the most wins (twice as many as second-place Mike Fratello), the second-best winning percentage (behind Fratello) and every playoff victory in franchise history. Even if the Grizzlies think they’re better off without a coach who openly criticizes the use of analytics and questions management’s mid-season trade of Rudy Gay for Tayshaun Prince and Ed Davis, replacing Hollins won’t be easy.

But with apologies to the Clippers, who I’ll dock slightly because Chris Paul will be a free agent this offseason and isn’t 100 percent to re-sign, the Grizzlies might have the most desirable opening on the market.

Memphis reached the conference finals this year, and Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Prince are under contract for next season and only Randolph, with a player option following next season, can become a free agent before 2015. This is a stable team with a strong identity – though Hollins certainly played a role in establishing and maintaining it.

Then again, Grizzlies assistant Dave Joerger also helped mold this team, and they could promote him (he is the favorite to get the job). George Karl and Alvin Gentry are also reported candidates.

For Hollins, he won’t remain out of work long if he wants another job. The Nuggets, Clippers and Hawks Nets have all reportedly shown interest.

Both sides might end up better off in the long run, but it will take some careful maneuvering and a little luck. I do know the Grizzlies and Hollins found unprecedented success for both when they worked together.

Sixers’ Wilbekin hits game-winning three vs. Cavs (VIDEO)

Scottie Wilbekin
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LeBron James sat out the Cavs’ preseason game against the Sixers on Thursday night, but Cleveland still held the lead for all but the final 5.4 seconds. Then, Sixers rookie Scottie Wilbekin did this:

Wilbekin, who played college ball at Florida, has a chance to earn legitimate minutes for the Sixers this season as they try to find young talent on the cheap. This is a good start.

Derrick Rose’s eye still swollen, will rejoin Bulls Monday

Derrick Rose
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Eight days ago, Derrick Rose had surgery to repair a fractured orbital bone suffered in training camp. The Bulls said he would be ready to resume basketball activities in two weeks, and in the meantime will rejoin practice soon. That part is still on schedule — head coach Fred Hoiberg says Rose will be with the team when they return to Chicago on Monday following a two-game preseason road trip, but unless the swelling in his eye dies down, it could be a little longer before he can start practicing again.

Via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

It’s not ideal, but since there’s no structural damage to Rose’s face, once he’s cleared to resume practicing, it’s just a matter of getting back into game shape before he can start playing in games. The team is still optimistic he’ll be able to play opening night against the Cavaliers on October 27.