Lionel Hollins front-runner to replace Jason Kidd

Memphis Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins walks the Memphis Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins walks the court during the first half in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals against the San Antonio Spurs. (May 25, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Nets general manager Billy King's search for a coach to replace Jason Kidd led to a second meeting with Lionel Hollins Tuesday, indicating he's the clear front-runner at the moment.

With Kidd set to be introduced as the Bucks' coach in Milwaukee Wednesday -- some 24 hours after King refused to get into any mudslinging regarding Kidd's departure after his foiled bid for more power and control -- the focus on his successor already has shifted into high gear. Hollins appears to be directly in the Nets' crosshairs, judging by the two separate sit-downs he's had with Nets brass in the past two days.

King said he dined with Hollins and assistant general managers Bobby Marks and Frank Zanin on Monday night, and had another meeting with Hollins Tuesday. Besides someone whom King declined to name because he wasn't interested in the job, he said Hollins was the only one he's interviewed.

King definitely is looking for someone with experience this time. Hollins, 60, was 214-201 in three stints with the Grizzlies.

"If you look at what he did in Memphis," King said Tuesday, "he was able to take a team that added some veterans, and they continually got better. He developed some young guys, [Marc] Gasol, some big guys. They consistently got better every year.''

The Grizzlies did not renew Hollins' contract in June 2013 after he led them to a 56-26 record and the Western Conference finals, which the Spurs swept.

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Although King said he's hopeful he'll have a replacement in line soon, rushing into a decision simply because free agency has begun isn't the plan. The person who takes over for Kidd might employ a different philosophy, which might mean the roster as currently constituted isn't ideal for his style.

The Nets don't have salary-cap space and can't do much in free agency, anyway, so King doesn't believe it will be much of a hindrance. Being able to work with the Nets as currently assembled is a plus, although it's not necessarily a prerequisite.

"It's going to be how they view the roster, how they use the roster," King said. "If they come in and say I want the job but we've got to remove eight guys, OK, that's probably not going to happen with the way the rules are. So I'm not going to dictate to the coach this is how we've got to play.

"But the people that you're talking to, you're looking at them for a reason. I think they can fit with our personnel. There's certain guys out there that I love, but I just think they wouldn't fit our personnel."

Establishing stability would be good, too. Including P.J. Carlesimo, who was interim coach through the end of the 2012-13 season after Avery Johnson was fired in December 2012, the Nets' next coach will be their fourth in the past 19 months.

"It happens," King said. "It is not something that you want to have happen. I think we talked about having continuity and consistency. The goal is when we do this, to find someone that is going to be here for a long time."

Warriors sign Livingston. Shaun Livingston cashed in on the opening day of free agency, leaving the Nets looking for another point guard. He agreed to terms with the Warriors Tuesday night, a source confirmed, committing to a three-year deal worth a reported $16 million.

The Nets knew Livingston was going to command more than the maximum three-year, $10-million deal they could offer.

Paul Pierce reportedly is drawing serious attention on the market, but King said he remained confident he can re-sign him.

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