NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Nets have a new coach.
Brooklyn and Lionel Hollins reached an agreement on a contract Wednesday, the team announced. According to multiple reports, the former Memphis Grizzlies coach will earn more than $4 million annually over the next four years.
Hollins was let go by Memphis on June 10, 2013, following a 56-win season and a spot in the Western Conference finals. He led the Grizzlies to three consecutive playoff appearances, and is known as a strong defensive coach, with the Grizzlies holding opponents to an NBA-low 89.3 points per game in his final season.
The hiring of Hollins by Nets general manager Billy King was expected. King had said he was looking for experience in a new coach and Hollins comes aboard with a solid reputation.
“I want to thank the Nets ownership and Billy for this opportunity,” Hollins said in a 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.”
King and his assistants had dinner with Hollins on Monday night, and the two parties met again on Tuesday, the Nets GM told WFAN’s Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts on Tuesday.
Hollins was the only known candidate the Nets interviewed. King said he had reached out to one other person who chose not to pursue the job, The Associated Press reported.
“If you look at (his) track record and what he did in Memphis, he was able to go in there and take a team, added some veterans and they continually got better,” King said Tuesday. “He developed some young guys, (Marc) Gasol, some big guys. If you look at Memphis, they got consistently got better every year. All the way to the Western Conference finals.”
The Nets had to start looking for a new coach earlier this week after their marriage with Jason Kidd fell apart.
Kidd, the greatest player in franchise history, tried to work his way up the chain of command in the front office but was denied. He was granted permission to speak with other teams, and was ultimately sent to the Bucks — where he’s now the head coach — for two second-round draft picks.
In his lone season as head coach of the Nets, Kidd went 44-38 and lost in the second round of the NBA playoffs.
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