Over a month since interviewing for the Lakers’ vacant head-coaching position, Lionel Hollins will coach an NBA team. But not the Lakers. He will coach the Brooklyn Nets shortly after Jason Kidd left the team to take over the Milwaukee Bucks, according to various media reports, first by ESPN.
Byron Scott had marked the lone candidate that had multiple interviews with the Lakers. According to a league source familiar with the discussions, Scott interviewed with the Lakers twice and also had informal discussions. The Lakers also have interviewed Kurt Rambis, Alvin Gentry (who went to Golden State as an associate coach) and Mike Dunleavy.
“We may continue to interview But we have a pretty good feel on what’s available,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said last week before the NBA Draft. “We’re comfortable we can get a pretty good coach probably at the beginning of July.”
Hollins compiled a proven track record through five seasons with Memphis (2008-2013) with five playoff appearances, including advancing to the 2013 Western Conference finals against the San Antonio Spurs. Hollins’ presence could boost the Lakers’ sub-par defensive performances — they finished last in the 2013-14 season in several statistical categories, including 29th in total team defense (109.2 points per game), 24th in defensive field-goal percentage (46.8) and 30th in fast-break points allowed (16.7). Memphis ranked in the top five both in total points allowed and steals during Hollins’ last two seasons there.
Despite winning 56 games and reaching the conference finals in 2013, Hollins’ contract wasn’t renewed amid philosophical differences with Grizzlies management. Memphis’ recent firings of CEO Jason Levien and assistant general manager Stu Lash illustrates Hollins’ struggles arguably stemmed from that dysfunction than anything surrounding his coaching.