With the Memphis Grizzlies‘ season having come to a close, coach Lionel Hollins, whose contract is set to expire on June 30, now finds himself on a seat so hot that it makes jalapeños look like snowcones.
There is a widespread belief that ownership is not likely to give Hollins a new deal to remain in Memphis, despite leading the franchise to its first-ever conference finals.
Both organizations certainly have an abundance of talent and promise, but if Hollins does hit the open market and actually finds himself in a scenario where he has to choose between the two, his best bet would be to go to Brooklyn.
Not that the Clippers job is anything to sneeze at, but the Nets opening has a few advantages in the attractiveness department.
It all begins with assessing the current roster. In just their first year together, Brooklyn’s star trio of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez were able to turn a team that won just 22 games the previous season into a 49-win team that finished as the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Throw in the fact that they won 35 of those games under an interim coach, along with the majority sentiment that their bench can only improve next year through the draft and a couple of free agent signings, and what you have is a team with enough potential to seriously compete for a championship right away.
Meanwhile, the Clippers have more question marks than a new coach would like to deal with.
Chris Paul will become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Unless he guarantees a return to Los Angeles, the Clippers chances of being legitimate contenders become less than pint-sized. Blake Griffin may be an outstanding player, but no one would argue that he could win a title as a team’s no. 1 option.
Even if Paul does decide to stay put, the lack of starting lineup depth for the Clippers in comparison to the Nets could be a deterrent for Hollins. In a league where stars now join forces, why would anyone want two when they could have three?
The other edge the Nets have over the Clippers is ownership. While Donald Sterling of the Clippers doesn’t really have a reputation for being the most aspirational owner, Mikhail Prokhorov has shown outstanding ambition since day one with the Nets, and is preparing to fulfill his promise of winning a title by 2015.
Brooklyn may not be as warm and sunny as Hollywood, but if Hollins ends up in a position where he has to pick one, he’d find a lot more comfort in the former.