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New Nets coach Lionel Hollins jabs Jason Kidd in introductory news conference

The Nets introduced new head coach Lionel Hollins

The Nets introduced new head coach Lionel Hollins during a press conference at the Barclays Center on Monday, July 7, 2014. Credit: Richard T. Slattery

As Lionel Hollins approached Barclays Center Monday morning, the new Nets coach was taken aback by the sight of his smiling mug on the arena's oversized digital billboard.

"Awww, man," Hollins said, mimicking how he looked down and away in mock embarrassment at the team's boasting of his arrival.

If there was one message Hollins wanted to get across on the day he was introduced as Jason Kidd's replacement, it's that he craves nothing more than the X's and O's. Considering what this franchise went through in the past week, it was welcome news.

"I'm very low maintenance," Hollins said. "I just want to coach."

Calling the circumstances that led him to this job "miracle-like," Hollins even fired a not-so-subtle jab at his predecessor's failed power play, saying on the dais that no one should expect a repeat performance from him.

"I'm a basketball coach. I don't want to do Billy's job," Hollins said, referring to general manager Billy King. "I don't want to do anybody's job in the organization but the one I'm hired to do."

Kidd was released from his contract June 30 after his failed attempt to leapfrog over King in the organizational hierarchy. Kidd was introduced as the Bucks' coach two days later.

"That's over with," King said. "Now it's about we have a job to do together."

Kidd's departure worked out well for Hollins, who was considered for the Nets' job a year ago before Kidd was hired shortly after his final game as a player.

King said the Nets moved so quickly to hire the former Grizzlies coach this time around because of their experience researching him last summer. "His teams just win," King said.

Still, Hollins' contract was not renewed after his 56-win 2012-13 season because the Grizzlies' front office wanted to go in a different philosophical direction. Hollins, 60, admitted Monday that there were times when he wondered if he would get another chance to coach.

"As one gets older, you don't know if the opportunity is going to come around again," he said. "To have this opportunity is truly a blessing."

He spent the past season working for NBA TV and SiriusXM Radio, watching games from a different perspective, which he said helped him grow as a coach.

Hollins also was a candidate for the Lakers' coaching vacancy but said that when the Nets showed they were serious, he turned his attention to them.

"I'm all about me," he said. "If they wanted me, they would have hired me. They didn't."

Since being hired last week, Hollins has started putting together a staff and reaching out to Nets players. He said he's spoken with point guard Deron Williams by phone and that they plan to meet when Williams is back in New York.

Hollins' Memphis teams were known for their defensive ways, but he said not to read much into that. He has some ideas as to how he will mold the Nets, beginning with making sure they are "tough mentally."

"There's so much adversity in an 82-game season and the playoffs are such a marathon that it takes a mental toughness and cohesiveness," he said. "That's what I'm putting my sights on more than what style you play.

"Any style you play can be successful. It's those other things that push you to the top."

New York Sports