Brooklyn is a big market city. It’s the reason why the NBA’s Nets were moved from East Rutherford, NJ. A bigger market generally means more revenue is generated. There is a greater appeal to that team. Those are all factors that attracted Lionel Hollins to the Brooklyn Nets.
Owner Mikhail Prokhorov has shown a willingness to spend money to try building a roster that could compete for a championship, although that does not guarantee anything. The Nets ownership paid $190 million last season and were the most expensive team in league history.
During Hollins tenure as the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, one of his best offensive players was Rudy Gay. He was the player that Hollins would often go to if the team was having trouble creating offense. Then, on January 30th, 2013, the Grizzlies traded Gay to the Toronto Raptors in a clear cost-cutting move. Gay was owed $37 million over the next two seasons. In hindsight, that move may have not been that bad as the Grizzlies seemed to improve by addition with subtraction as they advanced all the way to the Western Conference Finals. At the time, though, Hollins was clearly irked by the trade.
“When you have champagne taste in your mouth, you can’t be on a beer budget. It’s a small market and I understand the economics of being in a small market.” (courtesy of Dan Devine of Yahoo Sports)
Once the Grizzlies fired Hollins in the 2013 offseason in another cost-cutting move, despite having just reached the Western Conference Finals, the coach then grew a desire to next be the coach for a team in a larger market.
Hollins was in the running for the Nets job last offseason when the team went in a different direction by hiring Jason Kidd. Rather inexplicably, no team hired Hollins last offseason. Once Kidd and the Nets management went their separate this offseason, the team wanted a more stable and experienced coach on their bench. Hollins was their top target this time around.
In a recent interview with Yahoo! Sports Radio, Hollins stated he wanted to be in a bigger market “to attract and entice free agents”. He wanted to coach for an owner who was in a big market and was willing to spend whatever it takes. He understands that owner’s in smaller market have to spend more money out of their pocket but are not generating nearly as much in return.
Prokhorov and the borough of Brooklyn certainly fit the mold that Hollins was looking for.
Now, it’s time to see if Hollins success with the Grizzlies will follow him to the Nets.