After talks on a contract extension stalled over the weekend with what one source calls "major philosophical differences," coach Lionel Hollins is likely done as the coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, league sources tell Yahoo! Sports.
The Grizzlies granted Hollins permission to speak to other teams about vacancies on Sunday, possibly clearing the way for him to discuss a deal with the Los Angeles Clippers. So far the Brooklyn Nets have shown no inclination that they want to meet with Hollins to discuss their coaching vacancy. Indiana Pacers assistant Brian Shaw remains high on the Nets' list.
After several days of talks among management, Hollins and his representation, the sides were unable to seriously consider terms of a potential contract because of hurdles that they couldn't clear with how new management wants the coach to fit into the franchise's belief systems, sources said.
Hollins led the Grizzlies to the Western Conference finals with series victories over the Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder. Hollins' deal with the team ends June 30.
Since the analytics-driven new ownership group of Robert Pera took over control of the franchise this season, there's been dramatic conflict between management and Hollins. Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien has given vice president of basketball operations John Hollinger significant latitude in constructing the roster and a philosophy.
Management wants a coach willing to buy into the analytic movement, using those mechanisms to make roster, lineup and system decisions. Hollins has resented what he considers undue interference by management, and has stood by his track record and success in maintaining productivity with a roster of diverse and difficult personalities.
During the Grizzlies' playoff run, tensions turned to a confrontation when Hollins exploded during a practice session upon finding Hollinger had walked onto the practice court and engaged forward Austin Daye during a shooting drill, multiple sources told Yahoo! Sports.
With the team watching – and with a motive to show his players that he was completely in charge on the floor, sources said – Hollins loudly questioned Hollinger about what he was doing, and why he believed it was appropriate for a management official to intrude on what's considered sacred territory for a coach and team, sources said.
Hollins joined the Grizzlies during the 2008-09 season, and has led the franchise to four straight seasons with 40 or more wins. This year, the Grizzlies won 56 games before San Antonio swept them in the conference finals. Hollins, 59, has a 183-155 career record.
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