The Brooklyn Nets hired Lionel Hollins on Wednesday, and even he was surprised by the events that led to his return as an NBA coach.
Hollins didn't coach last season after the Memphis Grizzlies parted ways with him following the team's run to the 2013 Western Conference finals. He was under consideration for the Los Angeles Lakers' job, but the Nets appeared to already be secure with Jason Kidd as their coach.
That changed when Kidd was rebuffed in his attempts to have final say in the Nets' basketball decisions and Brooklyn let him talk to the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks gave the Nets two second-round draft picks to let Kidd out of his contract, hired him as coach and fired Larry Drew, who coached the team last season.
Nets general manager Billy King was focused on hiring Hollins as soon as Kidd departed. Hollins has a 214-201 career record coaching the Grizzlies in Vancouver and Memphis with three playoff appearances.
"I wasn't thinking about myself at the point [of the Kidd news breaking]," Hollins said. "I was just thinking about the news. And then the next day my agent said, 'They may have interest in you,' and later on that night I got a text from Billy."
The Nets had a 44-38 record last season and advanced to the second round of the playoffs. Brooklyn returns guards Joe Johnson and Deron Williams, forward Kevin Garnett and centers Brook Lopez and Mason Plumlee. Free agents include forwards Paul Pierce, Andrei Kirilenko and Andray Blatche. Free-agent point guard Shaun Livingston has committed to sign with the Golden State Warriors.
"I can't say how I will use this team right now," Hollins said. "I like the roster. Brook Lopez will be back healthy. Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, some young players, K.G., this is really a nice nucleus of guys and I'm looking forward to working with them."
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