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Lionel Hollins opens up on his roster, suggests Kevin Garnett's return isn't a done deal

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Mike Ehrmann

Was it a way to get Kevin Garnett's attention or something more?

Lionel Hollins was in Orlando Friday afternoon for the summer league game vs. the Rockets and in talking to NBA TV and beat writers, he noted that he hadn't yet spoken to Kevin Garnett.

"I have called and I’ve texted him. I have not talked to him yet. KG, if he decides to come back and play, will certainly be in that mix [of the nucleus]. I’m sure if he returns he’s going to probably be in the best condition of his life, wanting to go out with a bang and on own his own terms. That’s what I expect."

IF he decides to come back?? IF he returns?? Hollins didn't say more, but as Andy Vasquez notes, "Billy King has said repeatedly he expects Garnett to return for his 20th season in the league. But Hollins used the word 'if.'"  KG is owed $12 million this season. Before he was traded to the Nets, his contract contained a $6 million buyout option this season. The Nets agreed to guarantee the full salary as part of the 2013 Draft Night deal.

Tim Bontemps says it's an annual rite for Garnett ... but it's not something his coaches have equated with retirement before.

The new Nets coach, while noting that he's still checking things out, also assessed Marquis Teague's confidence and Sergey Karasev 's development and talked about his coaching staff. It was a far cry from Jason Kidd, who kept his counsel on such issues.

On Teague ... and Karasev, Hollins said he had taken Teague aside and had offered an assessment on Karasev...

"I'm excited by the prospects of some of the players and some of the younger players. You know, I'm watching summer league. I had a conversation with Marquis Teague last night when I got here and I told him, you know, you got to have more confidence in yourself, got to believe in yourself. You got to make an impact on the court. You just going to be out there, then I could have anybody to be out there and he's played well tonight.

"The young kid, Sergey, he's going to grow. He's only 20 years old. He's got possibilities in the future but he's got to get stronger. He's got to figure out how to play in the NBA vs. playing overseas."

Hollins also talked about how he expects to use Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and newly acquired Jarrett Jack.

"You just rotate guys and it’s just easier for them to get their minutes when they can play multiple positions and Jarrett can play one, two, Joe can play three, two and Deron can play two, one. It just adds to the versatility. He’s an aggressive player and he’s going to bring a lot of that to the team."

Other than Teague, Hollins said he met with Brook Lopez and Mason Plumlee.  Here's a nutshell description of what he told Lopez...

Hollins confirmed that Paul Westphal, John Welch, Tony Brown and Joe Wolf will all be on his staff and added that the rest of the staff is a work in progress. He described the group as "communicators" and himself as "the tough guy." He also described Wolf, who most recently work with Mike Fratello on the Ukrainian national team as his big man coach.  Roy Rogers had that job under Kidd.