Lionel Hollins: 'I love Memphis'
Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said in a radio interview Monday that he doesn't want to coach another team and was surprised that he has been given permission to talk about vacancies with other NBA teams.
"I believe in Memphis. I love Memphis," Hollins said in an interview with Sports 56 WHBQ in Memphis. "I never had any intention of going anywhere. I don't have any intention of going anywhere."
I believe in Memphis. I love Memphis. I never had any intention of going anywhere. I don't have any intention of going anywhere.” -- Lionel Hollins
He wanted to make it clear Monday that, from his perspective, "I don't want to talk to any other teams. I want to be here. I told the media after our [Grizzlies] exit interviews that if the team offered me a contract that I felt was fair, I'd sign it the next day."
Hollins said he met with team owner Robert Pera and Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien three days ago and left the meeting feeling good about his future with the franchise.
"I thought everything was good. I was excited when I left. They indicated that they respected me and appreciated what I had done and that [they were] going to engage my agent in negotiations later on that evening. The next thing I know I've been given permission to talk to other teams," he said.
The Grizzlies won 56 games this season, advancing to the Western Conference finals before being swept in four games by the San Antonio Spurs.
"I want to coach the Memphis Grizzlies, the team that the city has embraced and that has the potential to go further with a few tweaks and adjustments," Hollins said.
A source told ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne recently that initial talks between the Grizzlies and Hollins stalled over what one source described as "major philosophical differences."
"I never knew there were philosophical differences except the ones that the media put out there because of my answers to questions," Hollins said Monday.
Hollins' contract expires at the end of the month.
The Brooklyn Nets have formally requested permission to interview Hollins, NBA coaching sources told ESPN.com's Marc Stein.
The Los Angeles Clippers also have interest in Hollins, but have yet to ask for permission to speak with him, a source familiar with the situation said Sunday.
However, Hollins' representatives have reached out to the Clippers to let the team know that Hollins is interested in their opening, two league executives told the Los Angeles Times.
Hollins said he would talk to other teams if forced to do so.
"If there's no conversation or if management feels there's no common ground with us, then I have no choice," he said.
"Just for the record I do not want to get rid of Zach Randolph, I do not want to get rid of Tony Allen," Hollins said. "I've had my meetings with Zach Randolph about expectations next year -- conditioning, weight, role on the team. Zach Randolph has been a huge part of what we've done here. Tony Allen has been a huge part of what we've done here."
Hollins told ESPN last month that Grizzlies management came to him during the first round of the playoffs to assure him that the franchise wanted to bring him back.
"The only conversations we've had is they said they wanted me back," Hollins told ESPN during the second round of the playoffs. "After we lost the first two games to the Clippers, we had a friendly conversation about the series and how they just wanted me personally to know that regardless of what's being said out there, this is how they felt. That was great."
Sources told Stein last week that assistant coach Dave Joerger would receive strong consideration to take over if Hollins departs.