When asked about Lakers assistant coach Lionel Hollins being ruled out of the NBA’s return to play plan due to health concerns, head coach Frank Vogel didn’t mince words.
“It was very disappointing,” Vogel said. “Lionel had been intent on going the entire time. We talked to our whole staff about this being a personal choice thing. Everyone has the ability to opt-out if they’re not comfortable with the pandemic, and everything that comes along with the virus.
“Lionel was okay with it and ready to go down with us, but after the medical review, it was recommended that he not go, and he accepted the recommendation,” Vogel said. “We support that. We all have to do what’s in our best interests to stay safe.”
For Hollins, who is 66 years old and reportedly had an underlying medical condition that led to the red flag, those steps to safety will now include not going with the Lakers to Disney World to help the tight knit group try to win a title together.
Still, Vogel made it clear that Hollins’ physical absence doesn’t mean he won’t still be a valuable part of the Lakers’ playoff run.
“We’re all still doing our jobs. And we’re going to continue to basically work remotely as opposed to working in person. We anticipate Coach Lionel is still going to be every bit a part of our journey here, participating in staff meetings, team meetings and observing practice,” Vogel said.
It won’t be quite the same for the longtime coaching veteran, but then again, there isn’t a lot that has been done the way we normally do things in 2020, whether you’re an NBA head coach or just someone doing an everyday job. The Lakers’ coaches have all been working remotely since the season shut down, and Vogel is confident they’ve learned to do so effectively.
“If there is anything we’ve learned over the last few months, it’s that you can really get a lot done over Zoom. So he’ll still be participating remotely, and we look forward to having that level of contribution from him,” Vogel said.