Will the Grizzlies retain Lionel Hollins? Ask Grizzlies CEO

Updated: May 30, 2013

Since the Memphis Grizzlies were eliminated via a sweep by the San Antonio Spurs last week all the focus has been on their free agent coach Lionel Hollins and his status with the team.

The Grizzlies are coming off their greatest season in team history winning 56 games and going to the Western Conference Finals. The uncertainty regarding their coach is not what some would have expected after that type of season. His players love playing for him and you won’t be able to find many people in the entire organization that have a bad thing to say about Hollins.

The tension between Hollins and management became publicly evident when Hollins made some comments about his distaste for the Grizzlies trade of Rudy Gay mid-year.  Hollins said “When you have champagne taste, you can’t be on a beer budget. It’s a small market and I understand the economics of being in a small market.”

This obviously drew the ire of management and it has lasted into the offseason where the Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien has made it known he will not allow Hollins to speak to other teams about their head coaching positions as Hollins is still under contract until June 30th.

NY Post was able to transcribe an interview that Levien had earlier this week.

[quote_simple] Tim Bontemps NY POST

Question: Have you been approached by teams who would like to speak with Lionel?

Answer: At this point, Lionel is our coach, and I wouldn’t comment on that

Question: If you were approached by teams, would you allow them to talk to him?

Answer: I think I’m probably better off not engaging in hypotheticals at this point. That’s not something we’ve focused on … the season is 18 hours old, and certainly Lionel was a great asset to us, and he was here long before we got here and we’re very proud of the way the team performed and certainly disappointed by the ending. It was an emotional evening and an emotional day today with the players, and that’s where our focus has been.

Question: Do you want [Hollins] back?

Answer: I think what I would say at this point is … up to this point, we said we didn’t want to negotiate or talk about his contract status publicly and I think we’re going to stick with that. Certainly we admire the job he’s done, and it was very helpful and very positive, we had a long conversation last night in his office, Robert, myself and Lionel, talking about the team and the community and the organization and sort of what the potential is for it. I thought that was a very positive conversation on the heels of a very emotional ending to the season.

Question: Does [this process] play out within a week, bringing him back or not?

Answer: I don’t want to put a timeframe on it, because I wouldn’t want to box ourselves in. Certainly he’s under contract, as many have reported, until the end of June, but we want to move quickly because we have important steps towards thinking about the future.

Question: Do you intend to make an offer before that timeframe [the end of June] is up?

Answer: Again, I think we’d stick to our policy of not commenting on the negotiations or the discussions around his contract.

Question: That was during the season, but now that the season is over, any difference?

Answer: I don’t think it makes sense for us to comment publicly on it. If we have, or when we submit an offer to him, to let you all know that, the timing of the response back and forth, I don’t think it’s advantageous for us to do that. I don’t anticipate us publicly announcing where we are in that process.[/quote_simple]



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