The Los Angeles Lakers plan on interviewing former Memphis Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. Hollins is the first candidate to emerge since the initial reports of the team interviewing Mike Dunleavy and Byron Scott.
Hollins last coached the Grizzlies to the Western Conference finals in 2013, who were swept by the San Antonio Spurs. He interviewed with teams last summer, most notably the Detroit Pistons who just hired Stan Van Gundy, but didn't land a new head coaching position.
His time with Memphis was considered successful. He had a winning record of 196-155 over the five-season span he coached the team starting during the 2008-2009 season. The Grizzlies made the playoffs for all three of Hollins' final seasons as head coach and the team's grind-out defensive identity is often attributed to him.
The Lakers are still in the opening phase of their search, so more names will fall out of the sky over the next few weeks. Mitch Kupchak already made it clear they don't expect to hire a coach over the next two-to-three weeks and aren't even necessarily worried about having a coach hired before the draft. He's also revealed that maximizing Kobe Bryant's production is one of the top priorities in their head coach search, and Hollins is a coach who could feature Kobe in the post.
It's not a bad thing if the Lakers really are committed to an exhaustive search. There's no clear cut replacement coach as of now and the front office needs to gather more information before making a big decision.