Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/20/14
For the past year, Lionel Hollins lived in that coaching purgatory, still smarting over his firing by the Memphis Grizzlies, waiting for the right opportunity and fully realizing it may require more patience. Suddenly, Jason Kidd asked the Brooklyn Nets for more power and was flatly denied. The Milwaukee Bucks pursued Kidd and the Nets were determined to find a new coach. This all occurred in a matter of days earlier this month. Hollins was monitoring every NBA coaching job, having talked with the Cavaliers and Lakers about their openings. But the Brooklyn job was a better fit. He’s a veteran coach who has reached the Western Conference finals with the Grizzlies and is experienced enough to inherit a group of veterans determined to win immediately. Finding Hollins to replace Kidd in such a short period compensated for an embarrassing episode for the Nets. They felt betrayed by Kidd, who accepted the Nets job shortly after retiring, and maintained their confidence in his coaching abilities despite a series of missteps during the first season. Hollins doesn’t require tutoring. He is a confident coach who built the Grizzlies into a consistent winner. Yet it will be a challenge to win in Brooklyn. “Yeah, it was sudden,” Hollins said of the call from Nets general manager Billy King. “Saturday I was sitting at home with no job and Sunday night I’m flying to New York, Monday I’m having dinner with Billy and his staff, Tuesday I’m interviewing, Tuesday night I’m on my way home, and when I get home contract negotiations had already started, and Wednesday it was a done deal.” Hollins, 60, coached in Memphis for five seasons before clashing in philosophy with the analytics-based management team and being fired by new owner Robert Pera. It was a controversial move since the Grizzlies reached the conference finals with an improving roster. The Nets are considerably different. They carried championship aspirations last season with a roster built to win immediately with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, and Brook Lopez. They struggled from the start, Lopez broke his foot in December, and Kidd’s job appeared in jeopardy until a midseason resurgence.
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