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Lionel Hollins frontrunner as Nets expected to move quickly to find new coach

Jun 30, 2014, 2:29 PM EDT

San Antonio Spurs v Memphis Grizzlies - Game Three Getty Images

Back 25 games into the NBA season, when the Nets reportedly were having second thoughts about hiring Jason Kidd as their coach, Lionel Hollins was the name that kept coming up as a replacement. Instead, the Nets stayed the course (and the ship did turn around).

Now that Jason Kidd’s power play has landed him as the coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, it’s Hollins name that is heard loudest as a possible replacement.

The Nets will move quickly, reports ESPN’s Marc Stein and Chris Broussard.

“In a lot of ways, he makes the most sense,” a league source said of Hollins. “He represents stability, and stability is very important right now. He rules with an iron fist and gets a lot out of his players, so he’d be very high on the list right now, and likely the leader.”

Ettore Messina, former coach of CSKA Moscow, also is a leading contender for the Nets’ opening, a source told

Mark Jackson and George Karl would each like to insert their name into the conversation as well.

Hollins would be a radical departure in style from Kidd — Hollins is old school, an authoritarian coach. How that would fly with the Nets’ veteran roster is an interesting question. How he deals with the hoards of New York media around every day is another (he’s not in Memphis anymore).

What this means for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett is another twist to this tale. Pierce is an unrestricted free agent starting Tuesday and while the Nets want to keep him other contending teams (Clippers, Heat) are reported to have some interest. Will Pierce look at the changes in Brooklyn and decide the grass is greener elsewhere? If he bolts Brooklyn there is a reasonable chance Kevin Garnett changes his mind (he’s reportedly been leaning toward coming back) and retires.

There’s a lot up in the air in Brooklyn right now, but at least Jason Kidd is now somebody else’s problem.

  1. csbanter - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:32 PM

    The Nets don’t want any more “personalities” on its bench. Hollins would be a safe choice here. So forget Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy, or George Karl.

  2. 4thquartermagic - Jun 30, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    Well if you believe the reports out of NY, the Nets veterans really coached the team last season.

    So they should probably save some $$$ and hire a mop.

  3. irvness21 - Jun 30, 2014 at 3:06 PM

    Right 4thquarter. i dont know why that story hasnt came out yet. KG, Pierce and Joe Johnson took over the roster and started coaching from the floor. Kidd was told to sit down and point every now and then to make it look like he was in charge. Once they started winning they had this huge story about the Nets finally buying into the system.

  4. sportsfan18 - Jun 30, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    “…but at least Jason Kidd is now somebody else’s problem.”

    strong statement…

    but I like it…

  5. jetsfaninindy - Jun 30, 2014 at 5:48 PM

    Kidd was a bad hire from the start. This is the
    best case scenario for Brooklyn. Hollins is a
    good coach.

  6. dablakdrphil - Jun 30, 2014 at 7:44 PM

    It’s hard to believe that someone like a Lionel Hollins hasn’t been hired yet. He did coach a Memphis team to the Western Conference Finals and I believe the most wins in Franchise History (58). Not too sure on that number but the man obviously knows how to coach and he handles himself very well. If Brooklyn is smart the Russian Billionaire will hire Hollins.

  7. campcouch - Jun 30, 2014 at 10:39 PM

    That’s a nice suit.

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