Lionel Hollins has emerged as a candidate for the Los Angeles Lakers' coaching job, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Lakers management plans to interview Hollins later this week, league sources said.
After meeting with two candidates with Lakers ties – Mike Dunleavy and Byron Scott – Hollins is an intriguing inclusion in the process. He's the first candidate who doesn't have a history with the organization, but, of the three, he has the most recent track record of success in the league.
In his final three years as head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, Hollins reached the playoffs three times – including a trip to the Western Conference finals and conference semifinals. As a player, Hollins won a championship with the Blazers in 1977 and was named an All-Star in 1978.
Hollins' history of strong defensive preparation and results, as well as a serious-minded leadership style, assuredly will appeal to Lakers star Kobe Bryant. Like Lakers management, Bryant is hopeful of the team finding a proven head coach with a winning track record.
Hollins' five-year run with the Grizzlies ended with acrimony between him and the franchise's now deposed CEO, Jason Levien. If Hollins' reputation had taken a hit over the departure, most in the NBA understand fully now the dysfunction and difficulty in Memphis had been mostly a byproduct of Levien's uneven management – not Hollins.
In his final season in 2013, Hollins won 56 games and lost in the Western Conference finals to the San Antonio Spurs.
Hollins played a significant part in cultivating the tough-minded, physical identity of the Grizzlies. Memphis star Zach Randolph had the best, most consistent years of his career under Hollins.
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