1:11pm: Ownership and management both denied to NetsDaily that the team is looking to replace the coach. Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com also hears from team officials who say Hollins’ job isn’t in jeopardy (Twitter link). Hollins was matter-of-fact when asked about the idea that he might be in trouble, as The Record’s Andy Vasquez relays (All Twitter links).
“The seat is always hot,” Hollins said. “It was hot when I sat in it for the first time.”
11:00am: The Nets have begun to look for someone to replace coach Lionel Hollins, and the team will let him go once it finds his successor, a source within the Russian-owned team tells Andrei Kartashov of Russia’s TASS News agency (translation via Alexander Chernykh of the Rush’N Hoops blog). NetsDaily reports the story is being denied (Twitter link), presumably by their own sources within the Nets organization. Brooklyn is 5-15 with no incentive to continue losing, since the team owes its first-round pick to the Celtics.
Conflicting reports also came out in January about Hollins’ job security, just months after he took over the team, though GM Billy King said Hollins was safe and that he liked his demanding approach. The coach had already begun to improve his working relationship with Brook Lopez, who re-signed with the Nets over the summer after resurgent play in the second half of the season, and owner Mikhail Prokhorov complimented Hollins at season’s end. Team officials denied that the recent hiring of Randy Ayres as a scout was a move to make him the team’s coach-in-waiting.
Brooklyn signed Hollins in the summer of 2014 to a four-year deal that reportedly could be worth as much as $20MM if the Nets pick up their team option on the final year. The Nets have had four different head coaches since the start of the 2012/13 season.