The Brooklyn Nets and Hollins, formerly the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies in 2012-13, have agreed in principle to a deal that will make Hollins their new head coach, the team announced Tuesday.
The Brooklyn Nets have reached an agreement in principle with Lionel Hollins to become the team’s new head coach.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) July 2, 2014
As coach of the Grizzlies from 2009-13, Hollins compiled a 196-155 record, improving his team’s record with each passing season. In his final season with the Grizz, Memphis won 56 games and advanced to the Western Conference Finals before being swept by the San Antonio Spurs.
Now that Kidd is out in Brooklyn, Hollins represents a pretty drastic change in coaching style but should be seen as a more stable upgrade. Putting a rookie head coach in charge of a group of veterans was a bit of a gamble and although Kidd figured out his rotations halfway through the season, by then it was too late.
Lionel Hollins will now be charged with the task of turning this old group into an Eastern Conference contender. He certainly has his work cut out for him. Shaun Livingston just signed with the Golden State Warriors, Brook Lopez will be coming off another season-ending injury and Paul Pierce, Alan Anderson, Andray Blatche are all unrestricted free agents.
The future of this team is very much in doubt, which is never a good sign for a team with such a massive payroll. However, Hollins is a tough, defensive-minded coach who was forced out of Memphis due to philosophical differences with management (the same management, mind you, that just tried to oust Dave Joerger after his stellar rookie season as the Grizzlies’ head coach). The details of his contract are still unknown, but ESPN’s Marc Stein has an idea of what to expect:
Nets announce they have agreement with Lionel Hollins. Four-year deal in the $18 million range is what the sides were discussing today — Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 2, 2014
Make no mistake, the Nets might be far more dependent on the health of Pierce, Lopez and Kevin Garnett than they are on their new head coach. But Hollins is a terrific hire whose presence should encourage Brooklyn’s free agents to re-sign with the Nets. And in the event Brooklyn’s roster isn’t loaded with overpaid past-their-primes in the future, Hollins will be the right man for the job.
Assuming the infamous coach killer doesn’t oust him first (just kidding, Deron Williams).