Lionel Hollins is out, but don't panic: Cheering for the team, not for the coach


A portion of Griz fans are freaking out about Lionel Hollins. I think that's a little much.

With Lionel Hollins now "no longer with the team," a lot of questions are being raised about who's going to coach the team going forward. According to ESPN's Marc Stein, assistant coach Dave Joerger is still the favorite:

But. That was before the Denver Nuggets let George Karl go. It's known that the Grizzlies are seriously considering Karl, as well they should. He's been to the Conference Finals with three different teams, and the Finals once. He's got a proven track record ("first round of the playoffs" stuff aside).

My completely uninformed gut opinion right now is that they're leaning towards Joerger. Promote the "next man up" who's a little more willing to work with the new front office--the new front office that didn't hire Hollins to begin with and likely wasn't thrilled when he started publicly bad-mouthing the Rudy Gay trade--and who, by all accounts, is a great basketball mind, and someone with whom all of the players are already familiar.

Regardless of who is the next coach, some Grizzlies fans acted like idiots on Twitter last night and this morning. The Commercial Appeal's Ron Hggins said he "hopes the team Lionel coaches smashes the Grizzlies" to prove the front office wrong (and later deleted the tweets). Other people said they were cancelling season tickets because Hollins was let go. Personally, I'm a fan of the Memphis Grizzlies, regardless of who the coach is, regardless of who plays for them (as long as it's not Nate Robinson).

This season has seen a lot of things change; it's the first season since the 2011 playoff run that ignited the current streak of Griz-Mania where big names are no longer around. First it was the ever-visible Michael Heisley, then it was Rudy Gay, and now it's Lionel Hollins.

There are a lot of us who were around before Lionel Hollins. There were a lot of us who were fans before Rudy Gay. There are probably two or three of us who were around for the Sidney Lowe years. (I was in eighth grade.) Obviously, some of those teams were pure basketball garbage. The NBA equivalent of a dumpster fire. But you know what? It doesn't matter. We're lucky--blessed, even--to be fans of a team that's good. It's not guaranteed.

The new front office is trying to build the organization the way they think it should be built. They bought the thing, and they run it. I'm sure they're sensitive to what fans want... to an extent. But no matter what they decide to do--even if they decide to hire Dusty Baker away from the Cincinnati Reds and stick him on the sidelines--they're still the Memphis Grizzlies. And if you're a real fan, and not one of those people who only shows up for the playoffs and the Heat and the Lakers, you understand that, regardless of how you feel about the Lionel Hollins situation.

I liked Lionel Hollins. I wrote articles about why the Grizzlies should re-sign him months ago. But the fact of the matter is that now, he's gone. The team isn't. In fact, the new owners who this segment of Griz fans hates so much actually extended the lease to keep the team here at least 15 more years.

Sure sounds like they hate Memphis, huh? Let's all take a deep breath. The summer is already off to a crazy start. The Griz haven't even addressed the issues with the roster yet. But next year, when they play a road game, you know what's still going to be across their chests?

Memphis. Not Hollins.

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