Memphis Grizzlies CEO Talks on Hollins to ESPN Radio

Memphis Grizzlies CEO Talks on Hollins to ESPN Radio

The Memphis Grizzlies decision not to re-sign Lionel Hollins as head coach has tongues wagging.
MEMPHIS, TN ( - The Memphis Grizzlies decision not to re-sign head coach Lionel Hollins has tongues wagging.

How do you get rid of the most successful coach in franchise history? And just as importantly, why?

Not many associated with the team were talking, but found one exec who was talking, even if it wasn’t in front of the cameras.

At least for a few days, the only place to get more was on Eric Haseltine’s radio show on 92.9 ESPN Radio.

“It was a tough decision,” Haseltine said.

That decision not to re-sign Hollins was expectedm but still shocking. It was, perhaps, harder to take because nobody from Grizzlies management was out-front talking.

“It would be unfair for me to say this is why they did it that way,” Haseltine told, “but I understand the notion from people that say: if you’re going to make this decision, we’d at least like to hear from you.”

No one from the team was scrambling to get in front of the cameras, but CEO Jason Levien did talk on Haseltine’s radio show, explaining the reasons for letting Hollins go.

“The organization is bigger than one person, certainly bigger than me,” Levien told the radio audience.

“We made this decision in an unemotional, systematic way. We felt as an organization the change - difficult as it was - was the right one for us,” Levien explained.

Haseltine understands the way the Grizzlies approach things.

“I think this is a group that wants to play their hand close to their vest,” he said.

“It’s important for me and our organization to articulate to our fans that we have a vision,” said Levien.

It’s important even if that vision does not include the highly successful, but reportedly disagreeable, Lionel Hollins.

Levien said, “We want the kind of organization where we get people in a room who are prepared, have opinions, that are going to disagree on what direction we should be going.”

Wait a minute; doesn’t that sound like Hollins? Here’s the difference.

“Once we come to a decision, whatever that decision is, we want to walk out of that room arm in arm, locked together on how we’re going to proceed and face the public,” Levien stated.

“Winning is everything,” said Haseltine, “unless you’re not going to get on board with the guys trying to put the rosters out there, I guess.”

Six of the 16 NBA playoff teams are currently looking for head coaches; three of them won more than 56 games, something Haseltine said he never thought he would see.
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