NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Lionel Hollins is ready to start a new chapter. So are the Brooklyn Nets.
After a year away from coaching that he feared might turn into two, Hollins finally has another opportunity.
The Nets hired him last week to replace Jason Kidd, who left for the Milwaukee Bucks after his bid for more power within the organization was denied. Hollins, who lost his job in Memphis and failed to land another one despite leading the Grizzlies to the Western Conference finals in his last season, suddenly ended up with a position he was considered for last year.
“As one gets older, you don’t know if the opportunity’s ever going to come back around again and to have this opportunity is truly a blessing,” Hollins said. “And the way it came about is truly miracle-like and I’m very thankful.”
Hollins guided the Grizzlies to a 56-26 record in 2012-13 but his contract wasn’t renewed after Memphis lost to San Antonio in the West finals. He had since interviewed for jobs in Denver, Cleveland and Minnesota, plus both teams in Los Angeles.
The Nets never formally interviewed him last year, but general manager Billy King had done plenty of research before hiring Kidd. When he needed to conduct another coaching search after only one season, he turned quickly to Hollins, hiring him after they met twice last week.
Hollins said he wouldn’t force-feed a particular system. Instead he plans to play to the strengths of his roster.
“My only promise is that we’re going to play hard every night,” Hollins told WFAN radio’s Mike Francesa. “We’re going to play together, and we’re not going to quit.”