Within days of Jason Kidd bolting Brooklyn for Milwaukee, the Nets wasted little time moving in a different direction.
The Nets and former Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins agreed to terms on a reported 4-year $18 million dollar contract.
It was the move the Nets had to make. Not only was getting a new coach quickly crucial with free agency just getting underway, but Lionel Hollins is everything Jason Kidd isn’t.
He’s reliable, trustworthy, doesn’t have a criminal history, and he has a winning reputation. Unlike Kidd, Hollins worked his way up serving as an assistant for 10-years (imagine that) before getting his first head-coaching gig in 1999 with the Vancouver Grizzlies.
Kidd was hired by the Nets less than a month after he retired as a player. He decided he wanted to be a coach and that’s exactly what happened.
After bouncing around the USBL, serving as interim coach of the Memphis Grizzlies briefly in 2004, and serving as an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks, Hollins finally made headway on his career when he took over the Grizzlies for a 3rd time in 2009.
There, he guided the small market Grizzlies to unprecedented levels of success. During the 2012-2013 season, Hollins led Memphis to a franchise record 56-wins and took the Grizzlies to its only Conference Finals appearance.
Memphis went on to get swept by the Spurs, but for a team like the Grizzlies to make it to the Western Conference Finals in today’s big-market, stars teaming up with stars NBA, is truly remarkable.
Hollins was unceremoniously fired after he was not happy about Memphis’s front office relying too much on analytics as opposed to bringing in the necessary talent to compete for a championship.
The most important thing Hollins brings to the Nets is stability. He’s going to be in for the long haul, stick to the plan, and s not going to all of a sudden bail on the team.
While Hollins is not a sexy name like Jeff Van Gundy or Mark Jackson, he’s exactly what the Nets franchise needs at this time.