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NBA COAST TO COAST

Will Lionel Hollins be swept out in Memphis housecleaning?

The small-market Grizzlies have traded star Rudy Gay and other key players, and Coach Lionel Hollins has expressed dismay. Now, what of his fate?

February 10, 2013|By Ben Bolch
  • Grizzlies Coach Lionel Hollins might be on the hot seat if Memphis continues its losing ways after the trade of forward Rudy Gay.
Grizzlies Coach Lionel Hollins might be on the hot seat if Memphis continues… (Danny Johnston / Associated…)

Memphis blues

Rudy Gay is gone.

Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington and Josh Selby are gone.

Could Lionel Hollins be next?

The Memphis Grizzlies coach who publicly disagreed with the franchise's decision to trade its best player insisted Friday that he was working in tandem with the new front office under owner Robert Pera.

"There's been a lot of negativity around our team, and me and my feelings about the trade and my feelings about management," Hollins said during an emotional and meandering session with reporters. "Most of it is as far from the truth as it can be."

There is no disputing that the Grizzlies have fallen into fifth place in the Western Conference standings and are only 2-2 since trading Gay to Toronto in a move that reflected the realities of their small-market status.

Hollins acknowledged that losing Gay, who had spent his entire NBA career with the Grizzlies, was difficult.

"When you raise somebody from a child to manhood, like these guys who have been together when they were winning 20 to 22 games [a season] and now getting up to 45, 48 games, there's always a letdown when something like that happens," Hollins said.

"Yes, I've been emotional about the trade. I don't want that to be taken that I can't move forward and I don't want my players to take it that I can't move forward."

It might be time for Hollins to forge ahead with another team.

Once more, with feeling

Apparently everyone needs to be on his game at AmericanAirlines Arena.

When a fan picked up a ball that Miami's Dwyane Wade had kicked into the stands Friday and flipped it gingerly to LeBron James, the Heat star immediately threw him back a hard chest pass.

Though the message seemed clear — this is how you make a real pass — the fan who was wearing a James jersey admitted afterward that he briefly thought his hero was giving him permission to keep the ball.

But after James continued to gesture for the ball, the fan eventually complied and flung it back with a bit more zip. His extra effort pleased James and nearby Heat fans, who cheered and gave the man a round of high-fives.

It was an exchange the man, who said he was visiting Florida from Honduras, will probably never forget.

"This is the most exciting thing I've ever lived in my life," he said.

The cheap seats

A Philadelphia 76ers fan found quite the bargain on StubHub, save for those pesky delivery and service fees.

The deal: 18 tickets for a game against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Center at four cents apiece.

The catch: assorted fees totaling $9.95.

Paying $10.67 seemed about right considering the 76ers lost, 88-69. At least the fan got a whole row to himself after his girlfriend declined to accompany him to the game.

"It seemed like a funny idea," the fan told Philly.com, "and the extra space to stretch out was a plus."

ben.bolch@latimes.com

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