Josh Newman, SNYNets.com
As a healthy dose of information regarding the Nets' head coaching was leaked on Wednesday, it appears that one of the two main candidates has emerged as the favorite, while the Nets may never get the opportunity to talk to the other.
Ron Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported via Twitter late Wednesday afternoon that the Nets have been denied permission by the Grizzlies to speak with head coach Lionel Hollins, whose contract expires June 30. Hollins had previously been given permission to speak with other teams.
According to Tillery, the Los Angeles Clippers were granted permission to speak with Hollins on Tuesday. The Nets requested permission and were denied the day after the Grizzlies were eliminated from the Western Conference Finals by the San Antonio Spurs. Game 4 of the four-game sweep took place on May 27.
With that news coming down, Brian Shaw is arguably even more of a favorite for the Nets job than he already was. Earlier in the day Wednesday, Adrian Wojarnowski of Yahoo! Sports reported the Nets had received permission to speak with the Indiana Pacers assistant coach, who has the endorsement of Pacers President Donnie Walsh and who Nets General Manager Billy King has reportedly done an inordinate amount of research on in recent weeks.
"The Pacers have been contacted by several teams since the end of the season regarding Brian (Shaw)," Shaw's agent, Jerome Stanley, said in a statement relayed through Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLA.com. The season has ended now and he plans to speak to a few teams about potential opportunities to be head coach. He will not be commenting on anything to do with this process, or the specific teams involved. There currently are no interviews scheduled."
Shaw is widely viewed as one of the NBA's top assistants and ready for his first shot at a head coaching position. He played in the NBA for 14 seasons, winning three titles with the Phil Jackson-coached Los Angeles Lakers before winning two more as a Jackson assistant in 2009 and 2010. Shaw was a finalist for the Lakers job in 2011 upon Jackson's retirement, but was ultimately passed over by owner Jim Buss in favor of Mike Brown. Shaw left for Indiana soon after.
Shaw is also being coveted by the Clippers, who are in need of a head coach after it was announced on May 21 that the contract of Vinny Del Negro would not be renewed. Shaw has deep ties in California, having grown up in Oakland and played his college basketball at St. Mary's and UC Santa Barbara before ending his playing career and beginning his coaching career with the Lakers.
Aside from Shaw and Hollins, the Nets reportedly reached out to gauge the interest of Jeff Van Gundy, while SNY.tv reported on Tuesday evening that they had reached out to Larry Brown, who is currently the head coach at SMU. King was the GM of the Philadelphia 76ers when Brown coached there from 1997-2003.
Josh Newman is SNYNets.com’s Field Reporter. Follow him on Twitter for up to the minute news and banter on all things related to the Brooklyn Nets and the NBA