Lionel Hollins Doesn’t Want to Leave the Memphis Grizzlies

by June 03, 2013

Memphis Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins was blind-sided when his current employer granted permission to talk to other NBA teams about their vacant coaching positions. Hollins says he’d love to stay, though the organization may feel differently. Per the Commercial Appeal: “Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said Monday morning that he was stunned to learn he had been granted permission to talk with other teams after leaving FedExForum last week believing management would begin negotiations to retain him. ‘I thought everything was good. I was excited when I left (last week)… The next thing I know I’ve been given permission to talk to other teams,’ Hollins said in a 28-minute radio interview on First Call with Peter Edmiston on Sports 56 WHBQ/87.7 FM. ‘People need to know from my perspective that I don’t want to talk to any other teams. I want to be here. I told the media after our exit interviews that if the team offered me a contract that I felt was fair, I’d sign it the next day.’ CEO Jason Levien and Hollins’ agent Warren LeGarie had discussions but never formally negotiated length and money for a possible contract. Sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed Sunday that Hollins received permission to seek other employment while management determines if it can overcome ‘philosophical differences.’ Hollins sounded surprised, saying that his conversations with Levien have all been positive. ‘I want to coach the Memphis Grizzlies, the team that the city has embraced and that has the potential to go further with a few tweaks and adjustments,’ Hollins said, later adding that, ‘I feel very comfortable with being here and working with management. I never knew there were philosophical differences except the ones that the media put out there because of my answers to questions.’ Management wants to be convinced that it can have a constructive working relationship with the coach. Hollins opposed the team’s decision to trade Rudy Gay midseason but then came around and rallied his troops to a franchise-record 56 wins in the regular season. Hollins’ comments about the role of analytics have often been construed as critical of Griz CEO Jason Levien’s analytics-driven front office. Griz vice president of basketball operations John Hollinger, a former writer, leads the team with regard to the use of analytics and also issues regarding the salary cap. Hollins acknowledged that he confronted Hollinger after Hollinger walked onto the court and engaged forward Austin Daye during a practice, an incident first reported by Yahoo Sports. Hollins said the report was overblown.”