The Los Angeles Lakers are continuing to overhaul the organization’s coaching brain trust. After seeing bench assistant Jason Kidd depart for the Dallas Mavericks and take advance scout Greg St. Jean with him, the organization chose not to renew the contract of South Bay Lakers head coach Coby Karl. Now, according to multiple reports, the team will also not retain Kidd’s fellow bench assistant, Lionel Hollins:
Lakers assistant coach Lionel Hollins is no longer with the franchise, sources tell me and @sam_amick. His contract ended and the sides did not agree to new terms.— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) July 27, 2021
Spoke with Lionel Hollins who confirmed to SCNG that he is out with the Lakers. He's open to coaching again given the right opportunity, and he adds that he enjoyed his two years in Los Angeles with Frank Vogel's staff.— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) July 27, 2021
The Athletic was first to report Hollins was out.
Hollins was with the Lakers for two seasons, including the 2020 championship that came in his first year working under head coach Frank Vogel. He worked remotely during the NBA bubble after being red-flagged as a health risk due to his age, but was on the bench for the team during the 2020-21 season.
The writing has been on the wall that Hollins would probably be gone for a few weeks, however. He interviewed for an assistant coaching role with the Portland Trail Blazers, which would have been at best a lateral move, something an assistant doesn’t do if they feel secure in their position in an organization. Scott Brooks — who it now seems was also considered for Hollins’ spot with the Lakers — was ultimately chosen over him.
And with Hollins gone, the Lakers had another open spot for one of their three bench assistants. David Fizdale already took Kidd’s spot, the well-regarded Phil Handy is still around, and according to NBA insider Marc Stein, it sure sounds like shooting coach Mike Penberthy will be promoted to replace Hollins:
The Lakers are expected to move Mike Penberthy to a front-of-the-bench role on Frank Vogel’s staff, league sources say.— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 27, 2021
Lionel Hollins, formerly a head coach in Memphis and Brooklyn, has left the Lakers after two seasons as an assistant, @jovanbuha and @sam_amick reported.
It remains to be seen if the Lakers will add a shooting coach to replace Penberthy, or if he will continue to work in both capacities. Penberthy previously was a private shooting coach before working with Anthony Davis as an assistant coach with the New Orleans Pelicans and joining the Lakers in the same capacity when Davis was traded in the summer of 2019.
Given that Vogel has all of his bench assistants do a bit of everything rather than designating coordinators, this will be an opportunity for Penberthy to advance his career and develop more broad coaching skills.
This story may be updated with more information.