Grizzlies give Lionel Hollins permission to speak with other teams

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It’s odd when a franchise has its best season in history, and then doesn’t seem to be interested in retaining its head coach.

But that’s exactly what’s going on in Memphis with the Grizzlies and Lionel Hollins, where it appears to be increasingly likely that the team will let Hollins walk and have a replacement in place before next season. Assistant coach Dave Joerger would be the frontrunner to fill the position.

There are reasons for the discord between the two sides, which we’ll revisit in a moment. First, the news.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

Wojnarowski goes on to report that talks have been ongoing between the sides on a new contract, but they stalled on Saturday.

Hollins did an exceptional job in guiding the Grizzlies to the Western Conference Finals, but was critical of the team’s management after they made the midseason deal to send Rudy Gay to the Raptors. Hollins was hired by the previous owner and general manager in Memphis, and despite the success the club achieved this season, the new regime wants to bring in someone more in line with their line of thinking in terms of how to best build a franchise for long-term success.

This is the core issue.

The new personnel at the top of the organization bases its decisions heavily on the new wave of statistics and analytics. This should be viewed as a positive by most, because why wouldn’t you want to use all of the available data to make the most informed decisions possible, both in terms of building a team’s roster, as well as how those players are used by a head coach in game situations.

Hollins, for better or for worse, does not appear to be completely on board with the new management style. His contract is up at the end of June, but will begin the process of meeting with other teams immediately now that he’s received permission from Memphis.

The Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers are believed to be the teams who will most actively pursue Hollins as a potential head coaching candidate.