With today’s firing of Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks, this has started the speculation as to who their next coach will be. Assistant John Loyer has been named the interim coach, and coaching sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com that Lionel Hollins is a prime target (Twitter link) for the job. If there was a good time to fire a coach, it was now, writes Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders.com, as there are a number of qualified coaches available on the market. Hollins has a career record of 214-201, and led the Grizzlies to 56 wins in 2012/2013. Greene also notes that Hollins was offered the opportunity to join Cheeks’ staff this season, but declined. Hollins has also made it well-known that he desires to return to coaching, stating that, “I believe that I’ve established myself as a head coach and I’d like another opportunity to show that my success wasn’t a fluke”. Greene also points to Hollins’ success in developing Memphis’ frontcourt players such as Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol as a selling point, considering the Pistons glut of big men.
More on the Pistons coaching change:
- It should be embarrassing to the team that the players had to find out via Twitter, writes Sean Highkin of USA Today. Judging by the reactions he posts in the article, the players were blindsided by the news.
- Hollins has already sounded off on the possibility of him taking the Pistons job, according to Chris Haynes of CSNNW (via Twitter). Hollins told him, “Of course I’m interested“, though Hollins also said he had not been contacted yet. Haynes also writes that it’s only a matter of time before the Pistons reach out to Hollins.
- Sam Amick of USA Today (via Twitter) has also supported the idea of Lionel Hollins coaching the Pistons.
- Brandon Jennings tweeted his support for departed coach Maurice Cheeks.
- Cheeks took the fall for a disastrous run of decisions by GM Joe Dumars, writes Tom Ziller of SB Nation.com. Ziller details a number of moves that have derailed the organization, including the Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon signings, the hiring of John Kuester, trading Arron Afflalo, and signings of Josh Smith and Jennings.