Rumors have been swirling for weeks that Lionel Hollins time in Memphis was limited. The head coach had a contract that was set to expire at the end of June and talks of an extension have not gone over well. Now the rumors have proven to be true. The Memphis Grizzlies announced on Monday that Hollins will not be retained as head coach for the upcoming season.
"After a thorough internal process, which included conversations with Lionel and his representatives, we decided as an organization to move in a different direction. On behalf of the Grizzlies organization, I would like to thank Lionel for his service and hard work in helping this organization," CEO Jason Levien said in a released statement.
Hollins led the Grizzlies to their best season in franchise history. The team won 56 games during the regular season and reached the Western Conference finals before getting beat by the San Antonio Spurs. Despite his success on the court, Hollins was in bad standings with the Memphis front office off the court. The head coach did not hide the fact he was upset with management after they traded away Rudy Gay in the middle of the season. The Grizzlies were also moving towards using advanced metrics for scouting, something Hollins was against.
Hollins will not remain on the unemployment list for long. The head coach has drawn a high amount of attention from teams before he was even officially out as in Memphis. The Los Angeles Clippers have targeted Hollins as one of their top two coaching candidates alongside Brian Shaw of the Indiana Pacers.
The Clippers have reportedly already set up an interview with Hollins this week. Los Angeles is looking to get a head coach in place before free agency. The team is in desperation mode trying to find a head coach that will be pleasing to free-agent-to-be Chris Paul. They are looking for someone that has a proven track record of success and can offer a versatile offense. Hollins would be a fitting candidate for the job.
Los Angeles has already had meetings with Shaw and Byron Scott about the vacant position. Owner Donald Sterling recently had dinner with Shaw in an effort to lure him into the organization. Hollins can expect the same treatment.
Multiple teams are in search for a new coach with only a handful of quality candidates available. Teams like Denver, Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Memphis will get into a bidding war over coaches like Shaw and Hollins. Whoever offers the best contract will win.