As long as Allen Iverson is coming off the bench — as he did yet again last night — things are going to be awkward in the Memphis Grizzlies’ locker room. A.I. is of course used to these sort of things, having partaken in his share of battles over the years.
Lionel Hollins, though, you should probably feel a little sorry for. He’s more of an innocent bystander in this clash, and is being asked by his boss to nevertheless fix the situation. Prior to the game against the Warriors last night (which the Grizz lost), some light was shed on Lionel’s plight.
From the Commercial Appeal:
Iverson, despite his opposition, will play a reserve role for the foreseeable future. Griz coach Lionel Hollins made that clear before the game. Earlier in the day, Hollins received the backing of team owner Michael Heisley, who was thousands of miles away doing business in the Middle East.
“Lionel will handle it,” Heisley said via telephone. “This is a situation that’ll be handled between Lionel and Allen. What Allen said was inappropriate, but I’m not going to make a big deal out of it. Allen expressed his frustration about not playing and I understand that.” It’s no secret that Heisley made the Iverson acquisition happen. But Heisley reiterated Wednesday that he won’t tell Hollins how to coach. “It’s up to the coach to handle these issues,” Heisley said.
The team owner brought Allen to Memphis, and Michael Heisley made it clear from day one — perhaps not to Iverson — that he’d be coming off the bench. It’s now up to Lionel Hollins to somehow get this message through to his unhappy star.
Wish him luck.