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Lionel Hollins says he would be interested in Pistons’ job. Coaching search may wait until summer.

Feb 9, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

Lionel Hollins AP

Before the season tipped off — before the lineup challenges became glaring problems, before the coach frustrated the guys that are the future of the franchise — on paper the Detroit Pistons looked like a poor man’s Memphis Grizzlies. Big front line that should be a force defensively, team probably meant to play at a slow pace, lack of outside shooting — Detroit should have been the Memphis of the East.

So why not get the former Grizzlies’ coach?

Detroit fired Mo Cheeks as coach on Sunday and John Loyer is going to be the Pistons interim coach. But he is not expected to be the long-term answer.

Former Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins would be open to the job, he told Chris Haynes of

Free agent coach Lionel Hollins tells “of course I’m interested” in the Detroit head coach gig, though he says he has not been contacted by them as of yet.

Hollins went on to say, “I’m interested and willing to listen to any NBA head coaching opportunities that become available.”

Hollins was let go by Memphis last summer. If Pistons GM Joe Dumars is looking for an old-school disciplinarian to take charge of that locker room — and he should be — not to mention a guy who has had success with a similar roster (he took the Grizzlies to the conference finals last season) Hollins makes a lot of sense.

Everybody seemed to think the same thing, as you can see from the tweets of Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports and Marc Stein of ESPN.

Here is what I would read into Wojnarowski’s first tweet — this may not be Joe Dumars call to make. His GM seat has to be warm as he is the guy who brought in Josh Smith at $12 million a year to make an uncomfortable pairing with Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. It was Dumars who got Brandon Jennings as the team’s point guard. It was Dumars that choose Cheeks to coach this group. If Dumars is let go after the season you want the new GM to be able to choose his coach.

Which means it may be after the season when the Pistons get serious about the coaching search, but whoever is making the call on the next Pistons coach likely will call Lionel Hollins. It should be a good fit.

And Hollins is interested.

  1. dinofrank60 - Feb 9, 2014 at 4:04 PM

    Not if Dumars is GM. Because he won’t give you the right talent; the Josh Smith signing should signal that. Talent has to fit the coaching; you can’t just throw guys on a team.

    Sometimes, you have to know what you’re stepping into, but guys like Cheeks feel that they can’t afford to be choosy. They don’t want to give up a chance, because they don’t don’t when another chance is coming, if ever.

    You should wait, Trane. Another ride will be opening up for you.

    • money2long - Feb 9, 2014 at 10:39 PM

      thx for basically giving us a recap of this article.

      • dinofrank60 - Feb 10, 2014 at 6:29 PM

        I apologize, Mr. Dumars. I shouldn’t have voiced support for Mr. Cheeks and Mr. Hollins. Please forgive me.

    • spursareold - Feb 10, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      Not to mention using the spelling from an AC company instead of Train, like a Lionel Train.

      • dinofrank60 - Feb 10, 2014 at 6:27 PM

        I didn’t intend to spell it TRAIN. When I refer to Mr. Hollins again, I will use TRANE.

  2. stayhigh_247 - Feb 9, 2014 at 7:23 PM

    If Detroit is serious about winning then they need to let Dumars ride off into the sunset or at least down 8 Mile. Hollins should have been their first choice when he became available, because they didn’t go that way he should wait it out and see who else gets fired this season, there’s bound to be more openings in the Eastern Conference alone

    • patsfan92 - Feb 9, 2014 at 7:57 PM

      i think he can do something good for the cavs

      • obmig - Feb 9, 2014 at 8:04 PM

        They should make Dumars coach the team. He obviously thinks these guys mesh even though nobody else in the world does. Hollins is a very good coach and I can think of at least 10 teams that would be lucky to have him tomorrow.

  3. emthomasjr - Feb 9, 2014 at 10:13 PM

    I will tell you flat out that Josh Smith and Hollins would mix like old and water. Smith is talented but does not play to his strengths; you wouldn’t be able to count the number of f-bombs that would be dropped if Smith started jacking ill-advised 3’s under Hollins and continued with his quitting on the defensive end. Jennings and Hollins would probably have a love-hate relationship. Jennings would get better because Hollins would insist that he play better defense and take better shots, but his offense would initially suffer, much like Conley’s did under Hollins. But Detroit would win a lot of games, and with Hollins would be right in the mix of things in less than 3 years as long as management stuck with him.

  4. 00maltliquor - Feb 10, 2014 at 12:57 AM

    I say get him now. I think he would be a perfect fit (which is probably why they WON’T get him), who cares what the new GM wants.

    Don’t want to see him slip away to another team he finds more attractive once all the HC spots open up after the season ends. Plus I’d like for the teams core to get half a season under their belts that way they know what to expect and they’d be more prepared getting a leg up going into to offseason.

  5. spursareold - Feb 10, 2014 at 11:49 AM

    Hollins dismisses advanced stats. That’s why he currently has no job. His favorite player was Rudy Gay, and the two times he took the team to the WCFs, he was involuntarily deprived of Gay, once by injury, and last year when he was traded. He doesn’t understand what his good lineups are, and basically accidentally advanced in the playoffs twice when he couldn’t fill out the lineup card he wanted.

    He is a dinosaur.

  6. mintberrycrunch1 - Feb 11, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    This is NOT a good fit. If you watch the Pistons play you know they thrive when running, not playing at a slow pace!! George Karl would be a much better fit for this team.

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