The Los Angeles Lakers already know they will be without starting point guard Avery Bradley when the season resumes. Now, it appears they will be missing one of their top assistant coaches as well. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Lionel Hollins will not travel with the team to Orlando after being “red-flagged” as a health risk amid surging Coronavirus infections, especially in Florida.
The 66-year-old Hollins was hired by the Lakers this summer to join Frank Vogel’s coaching staff alongside Jason Kidd and Phil Handy, among others. He was most notably the former head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies.
The NBA coaches union recently received assurances that the league would not prevent any coaches from being with their teams on account of their age, something the NBA had previously considered due to the higher risk of death among older people who become infected with COVID-19.
The Lakers submitted their final 35-person traveling party to the NBA earlier this week and Vogel spoke about the difficulties in narrowing their list down to essential personnel. In particular, he noted that the team prioritized bringing more medical personnel in lieu of extra coaches due to the heightened risk of injury as players return to high-intensity basketball after four months off.
Hollins’ presence on the sidelines will be missed especially due to his experience at the helm of playoff sides over his long career but the assistant coach should still be able to help the team remotely.