The Memphis Grizzlies have decided to part with the winningest coach in the franchise’s history, telling Lionel Hollins they will not be renewing his contract as head coach coming off their first trip to the Western Conference finals.
Hollins confirmed Monday night to The Associated Press that he had been told his contract would not be renewed. He had no further comment.
The Commercial Appeal first cited anonymous sources that Hollins had been told he would not be back as the Grizzlies’ head coach. WMC-TV in Memphis first reported Hollins said his contract would not be renewed before thanking former Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley for giving him the opportunity to be head coach and Memphis fans for their support.
The move finally came after Hollins attended each of the Grizzlies’ first three pre-draft workouts, including the third session Monday.
Hollins’ contract had been set to expire June 30, but the Grizzlies issued a statement Monday night saying that Hollins is no longer with the organization. Jason Levien, chief executive officer and managing partner of the Grizzlies, said they decided after talks with Hollins and his agent to go in a different direction and thanked the veteran coach for his work with the franchise since its start in Vancouver.
“Lionel, the coaching staff, the players and the organization achieved new heights this season with our run to the Western Conference finals and for that, we are grateful,” Levien said in his statement. “The entire Grizzlies’ family wishes Lionel all the best and great success as he moves forward in his career.”
Hollins, who won an NBA title as a player with Portland in 1977, had been with this franchise for 10 of its first 12 seasons and was the interim head coach first in 1999-00 when he replaced Brian Hill after a 4-18 start in Vancouver and again for four games in 2004-05 after Hubie Brown resigned. Heisley hired Hollins after firing Marc Iavaroni in January 2009, and he is 214-201 overall and 18-17 in the playoffs.
His future with the team has been unsettled since the Spurs swept the Grizzlies in the West finals. He led Memphis to a better record each season, including a franchise-best 56-26 record this season. The Grizzlies beat first the Clippers, then top-seeded Oklahoma City in the playoffs.
Hollins said a day after the Grizzlies were swept that he wanted to stay in Memphis. But now Hollins is expected to interview with the Clippers and the Denver Nuggets later this week.
New ownership led by Robert Pera, a California tech billionaire, took over the Grizzlies in November, and Pera put in Levien in charge. Levien made some changes in the front office, bringing in former ESPN.com writer John Hollinger as vice president of basketball operations and Stu Lash as director of player personnel and basketball development in December.
But Hollins had lobbied against trading leading scorer Rudy Gay away, wanting to keep together the core of starters that turned in the NBA’s best start this season. Memphis traded Gay to Toronto on Jan. 30 as part of a three-team trade, and Hollins talked of not being able to have “champagne taste” on a beer budget before refocusing the Grizzlies on a stretch run that was the league’s best after the All-Star break at 23-8.
Under Hollins, the Grizzlies also featured one of the NBA’s best defenses. Memphis allowed the fewest points per game this season with the 89.3 points the first time since 2005-06 that a team had held opponents below 90 points for an entire season. The Grizzlies also ranked third holding opponents to 43.5 percent shooting and a league-best 33.5 percent made field goals a game.
The candidates to replace Hollins include Grizzlies assistant Dave Joerger and George Karl, fired last week by the Nuggets. Lash was hired away from Denver where he had spent five seasons working on draft analysis and scouting.
“We have begun to identify our next head coach, who we feel can best move us forward,” Levien said.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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