We're probably making too much of it, but then again, how often does a top player, one who will be a free agent in 2016, sing the praises of the Brooklyn coach? That's what Mike Conley Jr. did in an interview with ESPN's Scoop Jackson. He told Jackson that Hollins. who coached him for five years in Memphis, is almost a "second father figure.".
In response to a Jackson question about losing Hollins, Conley Jr. said.
Conley Jr.: Well, to be honest, it was tough, first off. It was tough to see Lionel go. He was like a second father figure almost for me. But at the same time, when it was done, it was done. We couldn't take it back; (his firing) happened. (Dave) Joerger is our coach, and the only way for us to continue to get better is to jump over to Joerger's ship and say, "Hey, we're with you. We're behind you 100 percent" and try not to forget about Lionel, never forget about him, but use what he taught us and apply it to what Joerger is teaching us going forward and keep this thing moving.
Jackson: You came in the league without Lionel and you're probably going to leave without him.
Conley Jr.: I still gotta do my job.
Conley, a 6'1" speedster, was one of Hollins' big development successes in Memphis and is now critical to whatever chances Memphis will have this post-season. Whether Hollins presence as Nets coach would give Brooklyn any advantage is admittedly a mystery, but as Amin Elhassan writes, Conley will have a big decision after next season.
With numerous teams expected to have ample cap space, it would make sense for Conley to strongly consider all options available, particularly if Memphis hesitates in any way to pony up fair market value for a player who has been underpaid for the majority of his career.
And of course, Conley would fit the description Billy King gave season ticket-holders last week of who the Nets might pursue in 2016, a very good player if not a superstar.
- NBA: Interview with Mike Conley Jr. of the Memphis Grizzlies - Scoop Jackson - ESPN
- Conley a great bargain, for now - Amin Elhassan - ESPN Insider