While the Lakers have cast a wide net in their coaching search, when it has come down to interviews they have gone to experienced veterans with some history of success — Mike Dunleavy (he coached the Lakers to the NBA Finals) and Byron Scott (who twice coached the Nets to the NBA Finals).
Now add Lionel Hollins to the mix.
The former Memphis coach who built a defense-first team and took them to the Western Conference Finals, the best coach left on the market, will get an interview, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
Lakers management plans to interview Hollins later this week, league sources said….
Hollins’ history of strong defensive preparation and results, as well as a serious-minded leadership style, assuredly will appeal to Lakers star Kobe Bryant. Like Lakers management, Bryant is hopeful of the team finding a proven head coach with a winning track record.
Kobe has made it clear he wants to win now, that he’s only got a couple of years left, and Hollins is a better coach for winning now than the other two (both of whom would be better than a college coach brought up, for example).
Hollins clashed with the more advanced stats driven front office owner Robert Pera put in place and Hollins did not have his contract renewed. Of course, we look back at that now — with the Memphis front office cleaned out again, the old GM with the power and coach Dave Joerger about to head to Minnesota to replace Rick Adelman — that maybe Hollins wasn’t exactly the problem.
Hollins would be an interesting fit, a no-nonsense kind of guy that is a departure from the last few Lakers coaches. He has built a strong culture, has a distinct philosophy and it built a quality team in Memphis. It’s the kind of team and trajectory the Lakers would like to be on.