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Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Lionel Hollins 'realistic' about future

ESPN.com news services

Lionel Hollins said Tuesday he hopes to be back with the Memphis Grizzlies but is being "realistic" about his coaching future in the NBA.

The veteran coach is a hot commodity and is being mentioned as a candidate elsewhere with openings at the Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets being possibilities.

Hollins said nobody has asked to talk to him yet about his future with the Grizzlies after Memphis was swept from the postseason Monday night after a 93-86 loss to the Spurs. He wants to be paid fair-market value, but he said money will not be the final factor.

"Hopefully, I will be here," Hollins said. "I love the guys. I love this city and the fans and everybody associated with the team. But we've got to be very, very realistic in what the future holds."

Clippers owner Donald Sterling was at Game 1 of the Western finals in San Antonio with speculation that he was taking a close look at Hollins, who knocked Los Angeles out of the playoffs in the first round.

The Clippers have yet to formally request permission from the Grizzlies to speak to Hollins, whose contract expires at the end of June, but intend to do so soon, sources told ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne.

Hollins said he wouldn't expect the Grizzlies to grant any other teams permission to speak to him before his contract expires.

"Why would they [give permission]? I wouldn't," he told reporters, according to The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal.

Hollins had little negotiating leverage in 2010 when he accepted a contract from then-owner Michael Heisley. Now Robert Pera heads up the new ownership group, and Hollins had his longest talk with the new boss after Monday night's loss, though his future did not come up in conversation.

Hollins Hopefully, I will be here. I love the guys. I love this city and the fans and everybody associated with the team. But we've got to be very, very realistic in what the future holds.

-- Lionel Hollins

"I think he just wants to win," Hollins said.

CEO Jason Levien told reporters that the Grizzlies will move "expeditiously" in talks with Hollins. Asked if he wanted Hollins back, Levien said the Grizzlies would stick to their stance that they "wouldn't negotiate or talk about his contractual status publicly."

"Certainly, we admire the job he's done. He's been very helpful and very positive," Levien said, according to the Commercial Appeal.

But Hollins also wants to know what Levien plans to do with the roster. Levien traded away leading scorer Rudy Gay on Jan. 30, the second trade clearing up space away from the luxury tax threshold.

Now Levien must decide whether the Grizzlies can afford to keep Tony Allen, 31, a two-time member of the NBA All-Defensive first team who received votes for Defensive Player of the Year. Allen said he wants to stay in Memphis, where he coined the team's "Grit and Grind" mantra and is the self-named "Grindfather" at the arena known as the Grindhouse.

Guard Jerryd Bayless, who helped handle the ball to relieve the pressure on Mike Conley, has a player option for next season. Tayshaun Prince, acquired in the Gay trade, will cost more than $7 million each of the next two seasons, but he struggled so much with his shot this postseason that teams left him open, daring him to shoot.

Zach Randolph is a candidate for a trade or amnesty with a contract for two more years at $34 million. The two-time All Star led Memphis with 15.4 points and 11.2 rebounds a game with 45 double-doubles during the season.

He averaged 20 points against the Clippers and 18 against the Thunder only to be limited by the Spurs to 11 points in the West finals. They frustrated him with a wave of big bodies pushing him off his usual low block, and the Grizzlies couldn't adapt or make the Spurs pay.

Randolph said reaching the conference finals for the first time helped him learn exactly what he needs to do now in his game. He also wants to finish his career in Memphis.

"But it's a business, and I understand that."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.