May 27, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins reacts in the second half of game four of the Western Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs at FedEx Forum. The Spurs won 93-86. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
This could be an interesting twist and outlook to the Southwest division next season: the Memphis Grizzlies reported Monday night that Lionel Hollins will not return as head coach. Hollins contract expired after the Grizzlies were swept out of the Western Conference Finals by the San Antonio Spurs, and the team reportedly will not offer a new contract.
In four seasons with Memphis, the team improved each season, and in the last couple of years, Hollins has guided them to the national spotlight. Even in the wake of their first Conference Finals appearance in franchise history, sources say the new Grizzlies management team and Hollins have had “philosophical differences”. That showed in January when Hollins publicly criticized the decision to trade Rudy Gay to the Toronto Raptors on several occasions.
Sources say the Grizzlies have been evaluating other candidates, including recently fired Denver Nuggets coach George Karl, and former Phoenix Suns coach Alvin Gentry. But early reports indicate that the team is leaning very strongly toward current assistant coach Dave Joerger, who essentially served as the Grizzlies’ defensive coordinator under Hollins.
Whatever the case will turn out to be, the Grizzlies will have a new look next season, and it will definitely have an impact in the tough Southwest division.