Although Memphis Coach Lionel Hollins told a radio station he was stunned the Grizzlies granted him permission to speak with other teams, his representatives called the Clippers on Monday to let them know he was interested in their head-coaching job, according to two NBA executives who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
Hollins and his agent, Warren LeGarie, are waiting for the Clippers’ front office to hear back from owner Donald Sterling, one of the executives said.
There have also been reports that the Clippers are interested in pursuing Denver Nuggets Coach George Karl, but there has been little progress so far, an NBA executive said.
Karl, who has one year left on his contract with the Nuggets, hasn’t been contacted by the Clippers and the Nuggets haven’t given any team permission to talk to their coach.
The Clippers remain interested in several coaches and the team has reached out to some candidates.
Indiana Pacers associate head coach Brian Shaw and former NBA coach and ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy remain at the top of the Clippers’ list, the two league executives said.
However, former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott has also piqued the interest of Sterling, and he has also moved up high on the Clippers’ list of potential candidates to replace Vinny Del Negro.
Scott, who still is owned $4 million by the Cavaliers for next season, coached Chris Paul when both were with the New Orleans Hornets.
Former Phoenix Suns and former Clippers coach Alvin Gentry also remains in the coaching mix.
No interviews have been set, but they could take place soon.
There have also been reports that the Brooklyn Nets, who are also looking for a head coach, are interested in Shaw, Hollins and Van Gundy.
Hollins, 59, coached the Grizzlies to a franchise-best 56-26 record, and guided the team to the Western Conference finals for the first time.
His team beat the Clippers in the first round and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second round before being swept, 4-0, by the San Antonio Spurs.
Hollins went on a radio station in Memphis to express his surprise that the Grizzlies’ management was unwilling to negotiate a contract extension with him. His contract runs out June 30.
“I thought everything was good,” Hollins told the radio station. “I was excited when I left [last week]. …The next thing I know I’ve been given permission to talk to other teams.”