NBA Rumors: Lionel Hollins Reportedly the Favorite to Take Over the Pistons

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Lionel Hollins

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t long after Maurice Cheeks was fired as the head coach of the Detroit Pistons before a name surfaced as his replacement.

According to numerous reports, former NBA coach Lionel Hollins is the favorite to succeed Cheeks and Hollis is “very interested” in the position. No contact has been reported between the two sides as of Sunday, though.

 

Hollins is no stranger to these sorts of situations either. Hollins has taken over teams in the middle of the season three times, including the Vancouver Grizzlies after 22 games in 1999-00, the Memphis Grizzlies after four games in 2004-05 and again with the Grizzlies back in 2008-09.

ESPN reported the Pistons are aware of Hollins’ success in that area, and want a coach with a greater locker-room presence.

Also in the mix is assistant coach John Loyer, according to Yahoo! Sports, who took over as the interim head coach earlier Sunday. According to that report, Loyer is the frontrunner to become the full-time head coach. Loyer was an assistant coach with the Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers and New Jersey Nets before joining the Piston’s staff in 2011.

Hollins interviewed for Detroit’s head coaching position prior to last summer when Lawrence Frank received the axe. Cheeks beat out Hollins for the position.

Cheeks went 21-29 in his first season at the helm of the Pistons, who were a half-game outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture entering Sunday’s action. Being in that position was not OK with the team’s president of basketball operations Joe Dumars, who brought him big-money free agents Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings during the offseason.

Hollins owns a 415-214 mark as a head coach in the NBA, including trips to the postseason the past three seasons in Memphis. Hollins was not brought back after leading the Grizzlies to a franchise-best 56-win mark and a trip to the Western Conference Finals during the 2012-13 season.

Sam Spiegelman is a native New Yorker covering sports in New Orleans. He likes Game of Thrones way too much. Tweet him @samspiegs.
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