Memphis, TN – Despite orchestrating the first Western Conference finals appearance in the franchise's 18-year existence, Lionel Hollins will not return as the Memphis Grizzlies' head coach for the 2013-14 season.
The Grizzlies announced Monday that they will not offer a Hollins a new contract when his existing one expires on June 30 and is no longer a part of the organization.
Speculation had already existed that Hollins and the team would part ways following the Grizzlies being swept by San Antonio in the West finals, due to philosophical differences between the 59-year-old and upper management.
"After a thorough internal process, which included conversations with Lionel and his representatives, we decided as an organization to move in a different direction," said Grizzlies CEO and managing partner Jason Levien.
Hollins was in his third stint as the Grizzlies' head coach, having served in an interim capacity during the club's tenure in Vancouver in 1999-00 and coaching the final four games of the 2004-05 campaign following Hubie Brown's resignation. He became the permanent head coach in January of 2009 and compiled a 196-155 record over four seasons, with Memphis reaching the playoffs in each of the last three years.
The Grizzlies won a franchise-record 56 games during this year's regular season, then ousted the Los Angeles Clippers in the opening round of the playoffs before downing top-seeded Oklahoma City in five games to reach the conference finals.
"Lionel, the coaching staff, the players and the organization achieved new heights this season with our run to the Western Conference Finals and for that, we are grateful," said Levien. "The entire Grizzlies family wishes Lionel all the best and great success as he moves forward in his career."
According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the Grizzlies are considering reigning NBA Coach of the Year George Karl, fired by the Denver Nuggets last week following a front-office shakeup, for the vacancy. David Joerger, an assistant under Hollins last season, is also believed to be a candidate.
Hollins, who went 214-201 overall with the Grizzlies and put together an 18-17 playoff record, is expected to draw interest from several teams currently searching for new head coaches, including Karl's old post in Denver. His name has also been linked to openings with the Clippers and Brooklyn Nets.