Lionel Hollins is not yet free to talk about other coaching jobs, but the Nets, along with the Clippers and possibly the Bucks, will likely ask permission to talk with him this week, perhaps as soon as today, according to reports by ESPN and Yahoo! Sports.
Hollins once again said he prefers to stay in Memphis, texting Marc J. Spears of Yahoo!, "I hope things get worked out quickly. I love our team and the possibilities," Hollins texted Yahoo! Sports after the Grizzlies' 93-86 Game 4 loss to the Spurs.
Similarly the Grizzlies top players all told reporters how much they respect Hollins and want him back. Said center Marc Gasol: "He's a great part of where we are today. We came from a 20-game-winning team to the team we are today. We are still growing. We have a lot of room for growth and we got to keep doing it as players, as a team, as coach."
In an interview with Magic Johnson before the game, Mike Conley Jr. attributed much of his success to Hollins no-nonsense coaching style and called Hollins "a second father figure to me," a significant comment in that Conley and his father are quite close. Conley Sr. is also his agent.
Not all of the Memphis roster may feel the same. On Monday night, Hollins pushed Jerryd Bayless to the bench late in the game.
The question is how much respect do Grizzlies ownership and management have in Hollins. He has expressed his misgivings about the analytics-driven philosophy of owner Robert Pera and his two top lieutenants, Jason Levien, the CEO and former ESPN writer John Hollinger, now president of basketball operations in Memphis.
As Peter Vecsey tweets...
Will b shocked if LH re-signed. Believe he prefers 2 stay. I don't believe new regime wants him back, at least at money he'll command/demand— Peter Vecsey (@PeterVecsey1) May 28, 2013
Indeed, one big question is how much Pera et al will offer Hollins. He currently makes $2.3 million, on the low end of the coaching scale and some believe his top assistant, Dave Joerger, is ownership/management's favorite. If Hollins and the Grizzlies can't reach an agreement, and the Nets really want the 59-year-old, how much will Mikhail Prokhorov be willing to pay. In the case of Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers, the number would have been many multiples of the $2.3 million Hollins makes now.