The Clippers have asked for and received permission to speak to Memphis Grizzlies’ coach Lionel Hollins, according to ESPNLA’s Ramona Shelburne.
Clippers have officially asked for and recieved permission to speak to Lionel Hollins
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 5, 2013
Shelburne later noted in a tweet that Pacers’ assistant “Brian Shaw is still seen as the front runner for the Clippers job”.
Earlier this week, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported that the Clippers’ talks with Jeff Van Gundy had become “dormant” and that he was more than likely out of the picture. That most likely leaves five candidates potentially vying for the Clipper job: Hollins, Shaw, Byron Scott, Alvin Gentry, and George Karl.
While Scott and Gentry remain without a contract, Karl is still officially the coach in Denver. The Clippers have not yet requested permission to speak with him about filling their vacant coaching position. As for Hollins, it looks like his time in Memphis is more than likely over.
Hollins took over as an interim coach in Memphis in the 2008-09 season and led the Grizzlies to a 13-26 record after taking over. Memphis improved its winning percentage each year under Hollins from .333 in year one to .488 in ’09-’10 to .561 in ’10-’11 to .621 in ’11-’12 to .683 and a Western Conference Finals appearance this past season. But even with that progression, a conflict of philosophies with the Grizzlies’ front office might be responsible for ending his tenure in Memphis.
Hollins is a fiery personality that is generally touted as a leader and locker room general. However, it is his aversion to analytics in an organization that is quite analytics-driven that has pushed him out the door. There is a reason the Grizzlies gave Hollins permission to speak with other teams before he even requested it: he is not their priority. And mainly, that’s because he doesn’t fit in with their long-term plan.
Though there were questions throughout the season about Hollins’ substitution rotations, the coach helped put together the No. 2 ranked defense in the NBA and the No. 1 ranked defense in the Western Conference. He has overseen the vast improvement of Marc Gasol – from second-round scrub to Defensive Player of the Year – and has helped to mold Mike Conley into one of the best two-way point guards in the NBA. He did all of that while watching Zach Randolph develop from an underachieving, talented player to a grinding, physical post player who is one of the more feared players in the game.
Hollins’ season ended after the Spurs swept the Grizzlies in the Western Conference Finals.
UPDATE: Dan Woike of the OC Register confirms via Twitter that the Clippers have also asked for and received permission to speak with Brian Shaw.
I can confirm reports that the Clippers asked and received permission to speak with Brian Shaw.
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) June 5, 2013
Shaw was a Lakers assistant coach from the 2004-05 season until the 2010-11 season. During the summer of 2011, he signed with the Pacers to act as lead assistant for Indiana head coach Frank Vogel. He is generally associated with running the triangle offense, a style he learned under Phil Jackson, though the Pacers don’t employ that strategy.
Shaw has been a highly respected assistant for some time now and has found himself as a contender for multiple coaching jobs in the past. He turned down the Bobcats job last summer after Charlotte offered him the chance to fill their coaching vacancy. NBA players have in the past been vocal about Shaw getting a head coaching gig, namely Kobe Bryant, who stated that he preferred Shaw to be Phil Jackson’s successor in Los Angeles after Jackson’s retirement in 2011.