Memphis Grizzlies: Lionel Hollins Out as Head Coach, Questions Begin Looming

By Ryan Heckman
Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

It appears the Memphis Grizzlies have decided to move on. According to the team’s commercial appeal account, Lionel Hollins is out as head coach. The team will not be renewing his contract, instead choosing to let him go despite his desire to stay.

A few days ago, Hollins was given permission to speak with other teams due to ‘philosophical differences,’ starting the snowball and quickly leading to this. Hollins has already been placed near the top of the list of other franchises with current head coaching vacancies.

The big names so far have been the Los Angeles Clippers, Brooklyn Nets and Denver Nuggets in terms of teams that may go after the now-former Grizzlies head coach.

The big question I have regarding the situation is just what exactly these ‘philosophical differences’ are? Hollins has been nothing short of excellent during his stint with Memphis, showing the ability to be a true player’s coach and drawing tons of respect in the locker room.

He instilled a defensive mindset within the team that could not be matched, as they finished near the top of the NBA in almost every defensive category. Hollins was also able to propel center Marc Gasol to his first Defensive Player of the Year award.

Hollins is a premier coach in this league and will find work very soon. Whether it be in Los Angeles, Brooklyn or Denver is the next step in the final equation. Many believe he would be a fantastic fit with the Clippers, assuming they can lure Chris Paul back to town for good.

The Clippers are a solid defensive mentality away from competing for a championship, and Hollins would certainly give them that. In Brooklyn, he may have not have a chance anymore due to Jason Kidd being one of the recent favorites to soar up the list of candidates.

The Nuggets may also be a nice fit as they were monsters in the paint last year and offensively sound all around for the most part. A tough-minded, defensive coach would propel them to the next level – no doubt. The club may be in the market for a coach like that after they let go of reigning coach of the year George Karl.

Wherever Hollins lands, he should be welcomed with open arms – especially in Los Angeles. A team filled with talent cannot afford another year under a horrendous coach like Vinny Del Negro. The Grizzlies, meanwhile, are left with a gaping hole that needs filling.


Ryan Heckman is a Senior NBA writer for also contributing to the NFL. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.



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