Lionel Hollins Will Not Return to Memphis Grizzlies Next Season

Tim KeeneyContributor IJune 10, 2013

Lionel Hollins is officially no longer the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, according to a team announcement

The Memphis Grizzlies announced that the team will not offer Hollins a new contract when it expires on Sunday, June 30 and effective immediately, he is no longer with the organization.

'After a thorough internal process, which included conversations with Lionel and his representatives, we decided as an organization to move in a different direction,' said Jason Levien, CEO & Managing Partner of the Memphis Grizzlies and FedExForum.

'On behalf of the Grizzlies organization I would like to thank Lionel for his service and hard work in helping this organization throughout his years in Vancouver and Memphis,' Levien continued. 'Lionel, the coaching staff, the players and the organization achieved new heights this season with our run to the Western Conference Finals and for that, we are grateful. The entire Grizzlies family wishes Lionel all the best and great success as he moves forward in his career...''

'... We have begun to identify our next head coach, who we feel can best move us forward,' Levien further said.'

Commercial Appeal's Ronald Tillery first reported that the Grizzlies decided on Monday not to renew the 59-year-old's contract:

A move many have expected for a while, this ends Hollins' third different stint as head coach for the franchise. 

After spending one year with the Vancouver Grizzlies in 1999-00 and four games on an interim basis with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2004-05, Hollins returned to the helm midway through the 2008-09 campaign and would go on to coach Memphis for four more full seasons. 

His last was his best.    

Led by a burgeoning star in Mike Conley and Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol, Hollins coached the Grizz to a 56-26 (.683) record and the No. 5 seed in the NBA playoffs. 

After getting revenge on the Los Angeles Clippers, who defeated them in the 2012 playoffs, the Grizzlies defeated the Russell Westbrook-less Oklahoma City Thunder before a sweep by the San Antonio Spurs in the conference finals.

In Hollins' most recent stint, the Grizzlies went 196-155 (.558) with three playoff appearances in five seasons.

Despite that success, there was conflict within the organization. "Major philosophical differences" forced contract discussions to collapse, making a potential separation inevitable. 

It's unlikely Hollins will be unemployed for long, however, as both the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets have shown plenty of interest, per ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski

The Brooklyn Nets have also asked to speak with Hollins, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.