All signs point to Lionel Hollins, who was inexplicably fired after a 56-win season in Memphis, to become the next head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, replacing Jason Kidd, who has to be wondering why he’s now the coach of the Milwaukee Bucks.
“One, I think we’re looking for experience, someone we’ll build with for a long time,” Brooklyn general manager Billy King said about Hollins. “Someone who can develop young players, develop veterans and have a tough mindset. But someone also who has the experience, who can take us to where we want to go.”
In another indicator that Hollins is the choice, King said: “If you look at (his) track record and what he did in Memphis, they consistently got better every year.”
He also said after a second meeting with Hollins he will determine if there is a need to interview any other prospects.
ESPN reports that the Nets and Hollins are finalizing a multiyear agreement that will pay him an annual salary in excess of $4 million. A deal is expected Wednesday, sources said.
Hollins, who won a championship as a player with the Portland Trail Blazers in 1976, led the Grizzlies to consecutive playoff appearances in his last three seasons with the team. In 2012-13, his last year at the helm, the Grizzlies won 56 games and advanced all the way to the Western Conference finals. Hollins’ contract was not renewed after the ’13 season, apparently because there were philosophical differences between him and the ownership.
He surely is thanking, at least silently, Kidd for bungling a power play that led to him coaching the Bucks, who was the worst team in the NBA last season. Kidd asked for more money and wanted the Nets’ president job as well, using Milwaukee’s interest in him as leverage.
The Nets did not blink and traded him to the Bucks for two second-round draft picks, opening the way for Hollins.