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Coach Hollins is Grizzlies’ biggest free agent, can they keep a coach in demand?

May 28, 2013, 10:55 AM EST

San Antonio Spurs v Memphis Grizzlies - Game Three Getty Images

Lionel Hollins is the Grizzlies’ biggest free agent and he is in demand.

Well, the Grizzlies’ coach is not technically a free agent yet, his contract runs through June 30, but he is about to be and there are other teams already lined up — the Clippers, the Nets and at least one other team would like to step in and poach the coach that just led Memphis to its first conference finals in franchise history. Obviously. Memphis is going to try and keep him.

Marc Spears with Yahoo Sports lays out the details.

Hollins’ contract with the Grizzlies ends on June 30, and the Los Angeles Clippers, Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee are expected to ask for permission to speak to him about their coaching openings, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. Hollins’ wish is to stay put in Memphis.

“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.

The Grizzlies’ players like Hollins and want him back and Memphis needs to pony up and pay the man — like the Spurs they have a system in part built on continuity and a new coach disrupts that.

How did Memphis let this happen? Remember that Robert Pera bought the team before this season and was making changes, particularly in the front office (hiring ESPN’s NBA stats guy John Hollinger was probably the most noted of these moves to a more analytics-driven process). Hollins was in the last year of his contract but there was an understandable desire to be patient and see how things fit. When they decided the fit was pretty good it was mid-season the Grizzlies wanted to wait until the season was over rather than have a distraction.

But with the deep playoff run other teams took notice and started to eye Hollins and the idea of building that kind of team play with their squads.

Now it’s going to cost the Grizzlies to keep him. This is basic economics — the supply is limited to one and now there is demand (and the guy that runs Brooklyn has shown a willingness to overpay for talent). Memphis can deny other teams permission to (officially, anyway) talk to Hollins until June 30, which gives them a window to pound out a deal.

Hollins made $2.3 million last season, Spears reports. Memphis may get a hometown discount, but Hollins is about to get a raise one way or another. And deservedly. Hollins sounded appreciative of that.

“It’s nice to be in that boat. But I don’t gloat and think that nobody is this or nobody is that. It’s not even about any of those [teams]. It’s about my life and my goals and what I’m trying to accomplish. It has nothing to do with anybody else. There are a lot of coaches who have been in a situation where it took a while for an opportunity to get [a job]. And then they ran out and proved they were great coaches.”

  1. rca26 - May 28, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    If he wants to win, he’ll stay in Memphis.

    If he wants to get paid, he’ll go to Brooklyn.

    If he wants to be a superstar, he’ll go to LA.

    If he wants to….drink…beer…he’ll go to Milwaukee.

    • kinggw - May 28, 2013 at 12:35 PM

      You sure about that? Memphis is at their ceiling. Do you think Conley is going to get better? Do you think Gasol is going to become a 20/10 guy every night. Is Zach Randolph at 31 going to be effective going down the road? The Griz are talented, but you could make an argument that they overachieved. They are offensively deficient and I think their defense would suffer tremendously if Allen leaves.

      If Hollins wants to win he will go to the Clippers who have the best situation going forward. The Paul/Griffin core is a good start. Couple that with the fact that they may add David West and will get a quality player in return from trading Bledsoe. LA is the place to be if your Hollins.

      • rca26 - May 28, 2013 at 1:30 PM

        Ah, yes, a Pacific Division team with a terrible owner and the best point guard in the league, whose on-court identity is dictated by a flashy, high-flying big man who repeatedly gets exposed in the paint.

        But enough about the 2000s Phoenix Suns, let’s get back to talking about the Clippers.

      • byrdman161 - May 28, 2013 at 2:47 PM

        who says Chris Paul is going to be a clipper hes a free agent to

      • bnally62191 - May 30, 2013 at 12:21 PM

        Memphis is the best situation for him, and I honestly can’t believe they haven’t given him a new contract immediately. Memphis improves every year. This was their first time in the WCF in franchise history, and you honestly think the GM is going to let that go? Great coaches are hard to find, that’s why there’s only 5-6 in the entire league. Unless Frank Vogel, Mark Jackson, George Karl, Tim Thibadeou, Doc Rivers, or Poppovich is at my door step, resign Hollins and prepare for another season, Memphis.

  2. lakerslegacy2432 - May 28, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    he will b in memphis next year without a doubt with this team he’s right there, he wont go to clips and have to face these guys and he def wont go to the net mess

  3. magic407 - May 28, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    Memphis just needs to up his salary some and let them get back to business next season. That club did a great job even with the trade .. #Much respect

  4. apmn - May 28, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    I really like Hollins. Does he remind anyone else of Ice Cube’s dad in Friday?

    • bnally62191 - May 30, 2013 at 12:23 PM

      What? No. Maybe the uncle from Next Friday or someone from Barbershop. Anyways, he’s a top coach.

  5. logisticalvoices - May 28, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    @kinggw: let me get this straight. He has a better chance of winning with the Clips, who according to you, just need to add a few players to become contenders. Couldn’t Memphis do the same thing? Memphis seems to be closer to winning a title; they didn’t get bounced out of the first round like the Clippers did.

    • bnally62191 - May 30, 2013 at 12:25 PM

      Memphis has a much better chance of winning a title than the Clippers. Chris Paul is the only appealing player on that team. Blake Griffin is the most overrated big man in the NBA, Deandre Jordan isn’t all that great, and beyond that you’re looking at Lamar Odom, Grant Hill, Jama Crawford, Caron Butler, Matt Barnes, and a good young Eric Bledsoe. This team has already signed it’s resignation notice because even if they make a run at the finals, they’re too old to keep going. They need to either develop Blake and Jordan to keep Paul, or use what they have to rebuild.

  6. observingii - May 28, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    Hollins is too classy a guy to get stuck with a constant complainer and a guy who drives a Kia.

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