NEW YORK – The Brooklyn Nets reached an agreement in principle Wednesday with Lionel Hollins to become their coach, moving quickly after the departure of Jason Kidd.
The deal with the former Memphis Grizzlies coach comes two days after the Nets made a trade with Milwaukee to allow Kidd out of his contract so the Bucks could hire him.
Nets general manager Billy King and his assistants then met with Hollins on Monday night and again Tuesday before agreeing to the deal. Terms were not disclosed.
“I want to thank the Nets ownership and Billy for this opportunity,” Hollins said in a statement. “It has been a long process to get back into the league, and I believe that Billy and I will have a very successful working relationship. Brooklyn has firmly established itself as a franchise that is committed to winning, and I eagerly look forward to becoming part of that culture and building on the success of the past two playoff appearances.”
The Nets will introduce Hollins at a news conference on Monday.
Hollins led Memphis to 56 victories and the 2013 Western Conference finals before he and the Grizzlies parted ways. The Nets considered him last year after firing P.J. Carlesimo before hiring Kidd.
He was the only known candidate the Nets interviewed this time. King said he had reached out to one other person who chose not to pursue the job.
“If you look at (his) track record and what he did in Memphis, he was able to go in there and take a team, added some veterans and they continually got better,” King said Tuesday. “He developed some young guys, (Marc) Gasol, some big guys. If you look at Memphis, they got consistently got better every year. All the way to the Western Conference finals.”
Kidd led Brooklyn to a 44-38 record and the second round of the playoffs in his lone season but the Nets allowed him to pursue other jobs after denying his request for more power within the organization. The Bucks held Kidd’s welcoming news conference earlier Wednesday.
Hollins is known as a strong defensive coach, with the Grizzlies holding opponents to an NBA-low 89.3 points per game in his final season. He is the franchise’s career leader in wins and led them to three straight playoff appearances.
He takes over a veteran team in Brooklyn that could easily fit his style of play if Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce return, and Brook Lopez and Deron Williams come back healthy after surgeries.
Hollins went 214-201 with the Grizzlies and improved the team’s record in each of his four full seasons, from 40 wins in 2009-10 to 56-26 in his final season. Memphis upset top-seeded San Antonio in the first round of the 2011 playoffs.
But the Grizzlies came under new ownership and management during his final season, and they chose not to renew Hollins’ contract after they were swept by the Spurs in the conference finals.
He met last month with Cleveland before the Cavaliers hired David Blatt.
Rockets court Anthony
Houston — Prized free agent Carmelo Anthony visited Houston on Wednesday and was greeted with images of him in two Rockets uniforms.
A day after visiting the Bulls, the New York Knicks’ star continued his tour in Houston. A video board outside the Toyota Center depicted one image of Anthony in Houston’s white uniform with red lettering and another in a retro red and yellow uniform. Between the pictures was Anthony’s logo with the word ‘Melo’ in it.
He was wearing his No. 7 in both renderings, despite the fact that current Rocket Jeremy Lin wears that number. The Rockets would likely have to unload the point guard to snag Anthony.
Lin responded to the snub on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon with a bible verse. He tweeted the verse Luke 6:29: “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.”
He later tweeted a much stronger response to the jersey pictures.
“I’m entitled to stand up for myself/say I felt disrespected as I did thru tweet but point is love unconditionally/as jesus loved me,” Lin tweeted.
Houston got the biggest prize in free agency last offseason when it signed Dwight Howard away from the Lakers, with designs on making a deep run in the playoffs this year. But the Rockets were bounced from the postseason in the first round just as they were the year before. So they started looking for more upgrades to the roster.
They made the first move to free up money for adding players by agreeing to a trade that will send center Omer Asik and cash considerations to the New Orleans Pelicans for a protected future first-round draft pick.
Lin is set to make more than $8 million next season in the final year of a three-year contract. That’s a steep price for a backup after he was relegated to the bench last season because of solid play by Patrick Beverley and started just 33 games.