Lionel Hollins doesn't believe a "growing perception" that the Grizzlies may be waiting to see if the team advances past the first round of the playoffs before deciding whether to bring him back, writes Ronald Tillery of the Commercial Appeal. Hollins and the team haven't discussed an extension to his deal, which is up at the end of the season. Still, a source recently told Marc Stein of ESPN.com that Hollins is "very likely" to receive a new contract after the playoffs even if the team bows out in the first round.
"There are a lot of teams that have successful seasons that don’t win in the first round," the coach said. "Look at San Antonio against us a couple of years ago. They won 61 games. That’s a successful season. But what happens in the playoffs is a different story. They caught a team on the rise and playing well. It happens."
Players, including Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Tony Allen, spoke in support of Hollins, as Tillery details. There have been rumors of a rift between Hollins and Zach Randolph, but both said last month that such speculation wasn't true.
Hollins will likely have offers from other teams if he hits the offseason without a deal, but he's nonetheless made it clear he wants to remain in Memphis, according to Tillery. Hollins criticized the team's Rudy Gay trade earlier this season, but later said it was an emotional reaction, and that he's on board with the team's revamped management, which places a greater emphasis on analytics.