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And the man at the center of the Nets' hopes

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Lionel Hollins is not a New Yorker.  Far from it.  He grew up in Las Vegas, played his best ball --and won a championship -- in Portland before launching his coaching career in Phoenix with Paul Westphal.  That said, there's a lot about Hollins that says New York.  He is outspoken, doesn't suffer fools gladly.

Harvey Araton, who wrote "When the Garden was Eden" about the Knicks of the 70's, says it was the Trail Blazers success that defined Hollins, particularly the mentorship of his late coach, Jack Ramsey, who taught him, in Araton's words, "the ideals of collectivism and effort."

"We had very skilled players who understood how to pass, when to pass and who were willing to pass," said Hollins. "Jack Ramsay was just a great orchestrator, and I think our team for him was the perfect storm, the perfect team."

It was about IQ, he said, a quality he likes in his Brooklyn team.

Araton also gets an insight into how Hollins feels about Jason Kidd's departure. It's part of that New York outspokenness, recounting how he learned of the Nets opening from his son-in-law.

"He says, ‘Jason Kidd just got permission to interview with Milwaukee, he went and wanted to be president or something and they told him no,’ " Hollins said.

Hollins saw right through Kidd’s machinations with the Nets. "That’s got to be a setup," he told his son-in-law. "Nobody goes in and makes a move like that unless they have a safety net."

Hollins was promised little when he took the Nets job, just a lot of players and the hopes of their fans and the guy who pays the bills who lives 5,000 miles away.