Brian Shaw Hiring Continues Head Coach Domino Effect; Lionel Hollins Next?

By Ryan Heckman


Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

As the Denver Nuggets have made their decision in hiring Brian Shaw to be their next head coach, the domino effect started by Jeff Hornacek and the Phoenix Suns has continued. Denver announced Monday night that Shaw was chosen to replace former head coach George Karl who was fired after winning the NBA’s Coach of the Year.

Jason Kidd and the Brooklyn Nets were up next after Hornacek and Phoenix. That entire saga didn’t last long as the two sides got a deal done in quite the fast-paced fashion. Then, there was the big deal that occurred in Los Angeles.

Although Doc Rivers wasn’t a ‘free agent’ coach, he continued this coaching carousel as he was sent  to the Los Angeles Clippers over the weekend. Rivers’ departure creates yet another opening, and now that Shaw is off the market, what does that mean for the remaining teams in need of a coach like the Boston Celtics?

I would guess that the next name to come off the list of free agent coaches would be that of Lionel Hollins. Like Karl, Hollins enjoyed a phenomenal season last year, taking his Memphis Grizzlies to the Western Conference Finals. Due to a few differences between he and management, Hollins was let go creating yet another opening.

Both the Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers could be prime candidates for Hollins. Each team is amidst somewhat of a rebuilding process, more so the Celtics of course. Hollins reminds many of Rivers in a way, becoming one of the true players’ coaches in the league. He is smart, defensive-minded and brings an established resume to the table.

Taking Memphis from where they were to the playoff team they are now is one of his greatest accomplishments. He was also instrumental in Marc Gasol’s development into one of the NBA’s elite defenders, earning his first Defensive Player of the Year award last season.

Philadelphia is in a tough spot right now, as they have to make a decision regarding Andrew Bynum and have lost a couple of valuable pieces over the last couple of years. Hollins would be able to take what they have at the moment and first create a defensive mentality within the group.

Bringing in a bigger name free agent may be the next step for the 76ers, and Hollins would surely appreciate that. While Philadelphia seems somewhat of an odd landing spot for Hollins, I wouldn’t rule it out.

In any event, the hiring of Shaw in Denver will now surely topple another domino in this constant coaching shift around the NBA. Hollins may be next in line to secure a job. Will it be with Boston or Philadelphia? We’ll have to wait and see.

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

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