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MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES highlights

April 1, 2014 Updates

Though Hollins has enjoyed his time away from coaching, don’t get the wrong idea. Hollins would have liked nothing more than to have been on the bench with the Grizzlies when they played Portland at the Moda Center on Sunday. He’d love to be coaching Memphis, or another team, when the playoffs arrive in a couple of weeks. “Of course,” Hollins says when asked if he’d like to return to the coaching ranks. “I miss coaching. What I miss is the teaching ... the development of the team and the players. ... the players working together and watching them grasp it mentally, and then have them go out and do it physically.” Portland Tribune

Life is uncomplicated for Lionel Hollins these days. “It seemed like they had their minds made up when they came in,” Hollins says. “They had an agenda of how they wanted to do things, and what they wanted to spend. I didn’t fit into that. “I can accept that. It’s their prerogative. But when you look at the big picture, you say, ‘Wow, you’ve had some pretty good success.’ If I were at FedEx, for instance, I wouldn’t fire the employees who made it successful.” Portland Tribune

The night the Grizzlies were eliminated from the playoffs, Hollins and his then-agent, Warren LeGarie, met with Levien for 2 1/2 hours. “When I walked out of there, I thought I was coming back,” Hollins says. Levien offered no public explanation, issuing only a statement that the club had decided to go in a different direction and thanking the coach for his work with the franchise. Portland Tribune

“I have no problems with John,” Hollins says. “I have no problems with analytics. The only problem I have is with the idea there’s just one way to do things. You look for every advantage and whatever tools you can utilize to help your team be better. Part of that is having relationships with the players I have to deal with every day. “It’s not just numbers. I’m dealing with emotions and egos and sensitivities and insecurities. It’s easy to say these guys need to play so many minutes and this group is the best group to have on the floor at the particular time. It’s not cut and dried like that. Portland Tribune

“I want to be perfectly clear, I have no problems with analytics. I expressed that to management here. If there is a sophisticated mechanism to help us win, I’m all for it. But there has to be a balance. I don’t think basketball is as numbers-oriented as baseball, for instance. A coach knows who he can count upon at different times during a game. It’s why I trusted Zach (Randolph) to walk up there and make free throws at the end of a game. It’s a feeling that has nothing to do with numbers. The experiences a coach has cannot be discarded completely.” Portland Tribune

Hollins was against the trade of Gay, an important piece to the Grizzlies’ success. “But I didn’t speak out on the trade,” Hollins contends. “I was asked a question. I said I hated to trade Rudy. We were winning, and it was the best team we’ve had, with him on the floor. With (Pera and Levien), it was economics. I understand small-market economics. Champagne taste, bare budget. They chose to go that way because it saved a lot of money. “If you want to make a decision, be up-front and tell everybody why. That’s fine. But don’t try to say it’s because of a young player’s inefficiency. That’s not why you traded him.” Portland Tribune

“Again, that’s OK,” Hollins says. “But don’t put out there that they got rid of the coach because he doesn’t communicate well, he’s too hard on players, that they want to create a friendly culture. That’s all propaganda. Just say, ‘His numbers were too high for what we wanted to pay.’ “ Hollins is reluctant to speak on the subject. Only with prodding from a reporter he has known since 1977 is he willing to reveal such thoughts. “For a while, it was very hard to accept,” he says. “For a while, I was in a depressed state. When something like that happens, you blame yourself. You wonder what you could have done differently. “At some point, you come to grips with it. It had nothing to do with me. They made that decision because that’s the decision they wanted to make.” Portland Tribune

March 28, 2014 Updates
March 25, 2014 Updates

Tennessee lawmakers are set to vote this week on a compromise that would end the state's so-called "jock tax," a special tax on some professional athletes who play in Tennessee. The tax, which applies to NHL and NBA players, charges athletes, from both home and away teams, $2,500 when they play in the state. The tax is applied a maximum of three times a year, so an athlete can be charged as much as $7,500 annually. An effort to reform the tax last year stalled in the Legislature. Now, WPLN Nashville Public Radio reports that a compromise has been reached that would end the tax on NHL players immediately. NBA players would play another two seasons before the tax is repealed. Business News

March 24, 2014 Updates
March 22, 2014 Updates
March 21, 2014 Updates

But a person with knowledge of the Grizzlies thinking said Randolph will be the focus of their free agency affection and that the interest they have in Pau Gasol would be secondary. The relevant question on that front, it seems, is whether Pau would be so interested in reuniting with his brother in Memphis and contending for a crown that he might be willing to play a complementary role behind Randolph and Marc Gasol while accepting a contract that would likely be below market value. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of such talks. USA Today Sports

Well you mention that, and that certainly makes me think back on the dynamics in place when you were hired. Do you feel like you're making your own way and getting out from Lionel's shadow at this point, or does that cross your mind? Dave Joerger: Um, it's not something that I spent a lot of time thinking about, to be honest with you. It has rolled off me because I wasn't involved in it. You know what I'm saying? I happened to be the guy standing here who gets the job, yes. But that's a third- or fourth-party thing. So I've got a job to do that I absolutely love and guys who I love to go coach every day, so I'm not trying to pass off the question. But really, I have so much stuff to think about that that's not something I haven't given a whole lot of time to think about, to be honest with you. USA Today Sports

March 17, 2014 Updates

In 1998, you applied to be the general manager of the Denver Nuggets—while working for the Post. This has always struck me as a conflict of interest. Tell me why I’m wrong. And do you think you would have/could have had a fruitful career as a GM. Peter Vecsey.: I was always told, you’ve got to have at least two conflicts of interest to be successful. Pro sports has plenty of former sportswriters-turned executives. The Knicks were started by Ned Irish. The latest example was John Hollinger leaving ESPN to become VP of basketball operations of Memphis. Why shouldn’t we be allowed to pursue front office or coaching, as long as it’s during the off-season? I tried to put together group to buy the Nuggets in the early ’80s … tried to get Rick Pitino to hire me as GM when he was running the Celtics … approached Larry Brown about helping him in Washington when he was close to coaching the Wizards … had an interview on tap as Hawks’ GM just before Stan Kasten left … and had a very brief interview with James Dolan to be Isiah Thomas’ GM. I am positive I would’ve been an asset to one and all. Jeff Pearlman

March 10, 2014 Updates
March 7, 2014 Updates
THE TOP 50 PLAYERS
IN GRIZZLIES HISTORY
Getty Images

The Gasols go 1-2 in a list short on big names 18 years into franchise history.

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