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NBA rumors: Atlanta Hawks fire head coach Lloyd Pierce

NBA rumors: Hawks fire Lloyd Pierce
Jan 4, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce reacts during the first half against the New York Knicks at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

After what has been a disastrous start to the 2020-21 season, NBA rumors had been pointing in the direction of the Atlanta Hawks making a head-coaching change.

Boasting a 14-20 record heading into this week’s action, that has now come to fruition. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Hawks have fired head coach Lloyd Pierce.

This move comes after the 44-year-old Pierce posted an astonishingly bad 63-120 record as the Hawks’ head coach since taking over back in 2018-19.

“We would like to thank Lloyd for his work and commitment to not only the Hawks organization but the city of Atlanta,” the Hawks said in a statement after the reported firing.

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Impact of the Atlanta Hawks firing Lloyd Pierce

NBA rumors: Atlanta Hawks fire Lloyd Pierce
Jan 15, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Atlanta Hawks Lloyd Pierce reacts during the first half against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk spent this past offseason adding a core group behind stud guard Trae Young. That included Atlanta bringing in veterans such as Bogdan Bogdanović, Danilo Gallinari and Rajon Rondo. None of the three have panned out to the Hawks’ liking with Gallinari leading the trio in scoring at a mere 11.3 points on 39% shooting.

More than anything, it has been Pierce’s inability to help the Hawks’ young core grow that led to his departure. In addition to Young, Atlanta has promising youngsters John Collins, De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish. That has not led to team-wide success for a Hawks team that has lost 11 of 15 since a 10-9 start to the campaign.

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NBA rumors will point to more moves from the Atlanta Hawks

John Collins trade
Feb 10, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) dunks the ball against the Dallas Mavericks during the second quarter at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Some might say that Schlenk is using Pierce as a fall guy. That might be the case given that his offseason acquisitions have not panned out.

Even then, things need to change in Atlanta right now. That could potentially include the Hawks trading impending restricted free agent John Collins. He’s apparently been on the chopping block for some time now.

Despite their 14-20 record, the Hawks are just 2.5 games out of a top-eight seed in what has been a pedestrian Eastern Conference. Making this move now could be a boon for the talented young team heading into the NBA All-Star Break. But Schlenk certainly has some work to do on his end.

As for a potential candidate to replace Lloyd Pierce as the Hawks’ head coach, they did not immediately make an announcement. It’s safe to assume top assistant Nate McMillan will take over on an interim basis.

The 56-year-old McMillan has had stints as a head coach with the Seattle Sonics, Portland Trail Blazers and Indiana Pacers. Atlanta is hopeful he accepts the interim gig.

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