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Report: Lionel Hollins, Byron Scott Interested in Coaching Los Angeles Lakers

Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins gestures during the first half in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals NBA basketball playoff series  against the San Antonio Spurs, in Memphis, Tenn., Monday, May 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
Danny Johnston/Associated Press
Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2014

Former Memphis Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins wouldn't mind bringing a little grit 'n' grind to the Los Angeles Lakers sidelines next season.

Former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott is right behind him—sans the grit 'n' grind, of course.

Hollins, one of the NBA's hottest unemployed head coaching commodities, has his sights set on Los Angeles, according to Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears:

Per TWC SportsNet's Jaime Maggio, he's not the only one:

Conveniently enough, the Lakers find themselves in need of another head coach after Mike D'Antoni resigned Wednesday night, per a team release.

D'Antoni's job status became a source of uncertainty once Dwight Howard left for the Houston Rockets last summer and forced the Lakers into an instant rebuilding process.

By regular season's end, Magic Mike was looking for the Lakers to pick up his 2015-16 club option as a sign of good faith and an attempt to ensure himself of some occupational stability in one of the league's most brutal and unpredictable work environments, according to USA Today's Sam Amick. With the Lakers unwilling to offer that type of commitment, D'Antoni opted to resign over entering next season as a lame-duck coach.

The stringent Hollins and point guard-friendly Scott wasted little time throwing their names into the pool of potential successors. Hollins is the more noteworthy option, if only because he's one year removed from his stay in Memphis, where he led the Grizzlies to the Western Conference Finals. His contract wasn't renewed last summer, and he was replaced by assistant coach Dave Joerger.

Since then, Hollins has been linked to just about every coaching vacancy there is, both officially and unofficially. 

Immediately after the Detroit Pistons fired Mo Cheeks in February, Hollins indicated he was interested in the job while also making it clear he was intrigued by any NBA opportunity, per CSNNW.com's Chris Haynes.

"I'm interested and willing to listen to any NBA head coaching opportunities that become available," he said.

Not surprisingly, the Lakers qualify. Even if Hollins wished to narrow his search down, they would likely still top his list. They're the Lakers. Coming off the worst season in franchise history, they still appeal to both players and coaches. 

Other candidates are bound to emerge, though.

Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski cited current Oklahoma City Thunder point guard and former Laker Derek Fisher as a potential hire while also acknowledging Kobe Bryant's respect for Scott, who has 13 years of head coaching experience to his name.

Scott could become a legitimate candidate as well.
Scott could become a legitimate candidate as well.David Liam Kyle/Getty Images

Scott is best known for his work with the then-New Jersey Nets. He coached the team to two consecutive Eastern Conference titles in 2002 and 2003.

CBS Sports' Ken Berger urges Lakers fans to be on the lookout for George Karl, who was named Coach of the Year last season before being dismissed by the Denver Nuggets. But Berger also entertains the idea of Hollins being the better fit for Los Angeles.

"Though Karl and Kupchak have the North Carolina connection, some in the coaching business believe Hollins actually would be a better fit," he writes.

While Hollins is notoriously stubborn and butted heads with Grizzlies executives as recently as last season, he's a valued authority figure. Players still respect him. Ask any member of the Grizzlies. D'Antoni was often criticized for his inability to tie different kinds of talent and egos together (see: Pau Gasol and Howard). Hollins has no such issues.

The hard-nosed coach isn't known for his offensive creativity, and he's not as well-versed in advanced analytics as other options, but he knows how to implement defense. That alone, plus the fact that he's a big name and Los Angeles remains attracted to big names, ensures the Lakers will take a long, hard look at him.

Hollins can only hope his track record—inflexible, primitive coaching style notwithstanding—speaks for itself.

Scott, meanwhile, can only hope a little respect from the Black Mamba goes a long way.

 

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