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Nets hire Lionel Hollins as coach
In a different era, before digital cameras, the emulsion on any Polaroids snapped at Jason Kidd's introductory news conference in Milwaukee would barely have been dry when the Nets officially had his replacement locked up.
Moving with little hesitation, the Nets announced Wednesday that they have hired Lionel Hollins as coach, putting the finishing touches on an agreement in principle after meeting with him the previous two days in the wake of Kidd's bolting to coach the Bucks.
Deemed the front-runner from the start by many, Hollins reportedly received a four-year deal that could be worth up to $20 million. The Nets zeroed in on him not long after they parted ways with Kidd for two second-round draft picks following his foiled bid to go over general manager Billy King's head and get personnel control.
Hollins is scheduled to be introduced at 10:30 a.m. Monday at a news conference at the Barclays Center.
"I want to thank the Nets ownership and Billy for this opportunity,'' Hollins said in a team-issued statement. "It has been a long process to get back into the league, and I believe that Billy and I will have a very successful working relationship. Brooklyn has firmly established itself as a franchise that is committed to winning, and I eagerly look forward to becoming part of that culture and building on the success of the past two playoff appearances.''
Hollins, 60, didn't coach this past season after his contract wasn't renewed following the Grizzlies' loss to the Spurs in the 2013 Western Conference Finals. The Nets reportedly wanted to interview Hollins for their vacant post last year before hiring Kidd but didn't receive permission from the Grizzlies.
Memphis management decided not to extend Hollins' contract when it was set to expire, reportedly because of philosophical differences between Hollins and the front office.
This week's courtship began Monday when Hollins had dinner with King and assistant general managers Bobby Marks and Frank Zanin. They met again Tuesday, and soon afterward started hammering out an agreement for him to be the franchise's fourth coach -- including interim coach P.J. Carlesimo -- in the last 19 months.
Known as a no-nonsense coach, Hollins compiled a 214-201 mark in three separate stints with Memphis, and went 18-17 in the playoffs. Hollins once stood up to Allen Iverson, refusing to let any of his shenanigans fracture a Grizzlies team after it started 1-4 in the 2009-10 season.
During a practice early that season, Hollins called out Iverson in front of his teammates, reportedly demanding that he fall in line with their schematic approach and start doing what Hollins expected from him, rather than continually deviating from the script and saying how he was unhappy to come off the bench. The Grizzlies released Iverson later that month.
Hollins inherits a veteran-laden team that went 44-38 before getting bounced by the Heat in the second round of the playoffs. The Nets have little salary-cap room to sign free agents this offseason and have a small window to contend for a championship. But he seems eager to dig into the challenge of building on what the team has accomplished these first two seasons in Brooklyn.
"We are very excited to welcome Lionel as the new head coach of the Brooklyn Nets,'' King said. "He is a proven winner who will provide the franchise with stability and leadership going forward.''