Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Nets near deal with Hollins
By Mike Mazzeo
The Brooklyn Nets are closing in on a deal to make Lionel Hollins their next head coach, sources told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein.
What it means: After Jason Kidd’s abrupt and stunning departure to Milwaukee, the Nets moved quickly to find his replacement. They certainly needed to with free agency already in full swing. The timing of the Kidd fiasco was not ideal, but at least Brooklyn can move on now with its new head coach in place.
The Nets flew Hollins into New York and general manager Billy King, along with assistant GMs Bobby Marks and Frank Zanin, had dinner with him Monday night. The Nets met with Hollins again Tuesday, and the sides were able to reach an accord Wednesday.
The 411: Hollins, 60, whom the Nets identified as their leading candidate for the vacancy early on in their search, recently had a lot of success as the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, leading them to the playoffs in his final three seasons at the helm. In 2012-13, Memphis won 56 games and advanced all the way to the Western Conference finals. Hollins' contract was ultimately not renewed by the team over "philosophical differences" between himself and ownership. The Nets had been interested in Hollins when they conducted their head-coaching search last season.
Coaching style: Hollins is a defense-minded coach who was integral in the development of both Mike Conley and Marc Gasol in Memphis. The Nets excelled while playing small ball under Kidd, forcing turnovers and hoisting 3-pointers, but the Grizzlies played a more traditional style under Hollins, running a lot of their offense through the post and go-to option Zach Randolph. It will be interesting to see what Hollins can get out of the likes of Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, who are both recovering from offseason surgeries.
What they're saying: "If you look at track record and what he did in Memphis, they consistently got better every year," King said.
"In a lot of ways, he makes the most sense," a league source told ESPN NewYork.com a couple of days ago. "He represents stability. And stability is very important right now. He rules with an iron fist and gets a lot out of his players, so he'd be very high on the list right now, and likely the leader."