Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Lionel Hollins had insisted he wanted to be part of the NBA restart at Disney World in Orlando, but according to multiple reports, he has been ruled out and will not get to join his team.
Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Lionel Hollins was “red-flagged” as a health concern and will not join the team in Orlando for the NBA restart, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 3, 2020
Sources: Lionel Hollins - 66 - was disappointed in not being able to be on the front lines, but understands this is the right decision. This was not an age-related situation. https://t.co/isTCj1tmTh— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 3, 2020
Lakers assistant Lionel Hollins was deemed a higher-risk individual due to underlying medical conditions, a league source told ESPN. He will not be present in Orlando but will continue to be an essential member of the team and participate on coach Frank Vogel’s staff remotely.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) July 3, 2020
NBA teams can protect certain staff members deemed as at-risk from going to Orlando, and it seems Hollins has been flagged as part of that process.
It’s unknown when exactly Hollins was ruled out, but on Thursday — a day before this news dropped — Frank Vogel sounded as dour as I’ve ever heard the normally chipper Laker head coach while discussing the challenges of cutting the team’s travel party down to 35 people.
“Honestly, it was fairly miserable trying to place a value on everybody’s contributions. There are several members of our staff that we’re not going to be able to bring into the bubble that, quite frankly, we need in the bubble,” Vogel said, adding that like many teams, the Lakers chose to “load up on medical personnel,” in part because of the COVID protocols, but also because of the long history of injuries for players who are coming back quickly from long layoffs, like the NBA is planning to do now.
Vogel said he understood the necessity of the restrictions, but that they left the Lakers “shorthanded on the coaching front.” He said that the NBA Coaches Association is pushing to allow teams to add more coaches at some point deeper in the playoffs, however, Hollins being flagged as a health risk does leave some doubt as to whether he’d be allowed to be a part of that reloading of the benches.
“We’re hoping to be whole by the time we get into the deeper rounds of the playoffs, should we advance,” Vogel said on Thursday.
But no matter who does or doesn’t get to join the Lakers in Orlando, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said earlier in the week that he wants to make sure everyone in the organization feels like they’re a part of this title chase.
“Even for the staff members that don’t go, let’s be clear, they will continue to do their jobs. They will continue to be a big part of what we do as an organization in Orlando. They’ll just be doing it remotely, like many of us have been doing our job during this COVID pandemic anyways,” Pelinka said. “Just because you don’t get on the plane on July 9 doesn’t mean you won’t be in Orlando in spirit with the Lakers, doing the work you do. That’s been a big message, too.”