On Sunday the Memphis Grizzlies told head coach Lionel Hollins that he had permission to pursue other coaching opportunities before his contract expires at the end of the June.
It has been reported that Hollins and the Grizzlies’ new ownership and front office do not see eye-to-eye in key philosophical ideas and the difference in ideas led up to a confrontation between coach Hollins and the vice president of basketball operations John Hollinger during the playoffs.
Management wants a coach willing to buy into the analytic movement, using those mechanisms to make roster, lineup and system decisions. Hollins has resented what he considers undue interference by management, and has stood by his track record and success in maintaining productivity with a roster of diverse and difficult personalities.
During the Grizzlies’ playoff run, tensions turned to a confrontation when Hollins exploded during a practice session upon finding Hollinger had walked onto the practice court and engaged forward Austin Daye during a shooting drill, multiple sources told Yahoo! Sports.
With the team watching – and with a motive to show his players that he was completely in charge on the floor, sources said – Hollins loudly questioned Hollinger about what he was doing, and why he believed it was appropriate for a management official to intrude on what’s considered sacred territory for a coach and team, sources said.
Hollins had a three-hour meeting with Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien on Thursday that went well but it is obvious that it has stalled.
The Grizzlies organization is looking to promote their lead assistant coach Dave Joeger as head coach. Joerger won five championships as a D-League head coach and joined the Grizzlies staff nearly two years ago.
The Grizzlies want to hurry the discussions with Hollins because they don’t want to risk losing Joerger and don’t want Hollins to miss out on other opportunities.
Hollins, 59, took over the Grizzlies in the middle of the 2008-09 season and has posted a 183-155 record since, including four straight 40-plus win seasons and 56 wins this year. Memphis finished 2nd in the Division and as the 5th seed in the Playoffs. Also, Marc Gasol was NBA Defensive Player of the Year
Hollins is known to be in consideration for the head coaching vacancies of the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Clippers.