It was announced yesterday that Lionel Hollins had been fired as the coach of the Brooklyn Nets. Team owner Mikhail Prokhorov issued the following statement:
"After careful consideration, I’ve concluded that it’s time for a fresh start and a new vision for the direction of the team. By making this decision now, it enables our organization to use the rest of the season to diligently evaluate candidates with proven track records. It’s clear from our current state of affairs that we need new leadership.
With the right basketball management and coach in place, we are going to create a winning culture and identity and give Brooklyn a team that it can be proud of and enjoy watching. We have learned a great deal during the past six years and our experiences will guide us for the future. Following the consolidation of team ownership last month, I can assure you that I’m more determined and committed than ever to build a winner.
I want to thank Billy for his hard work in the development of the Nets. At every step of the way, he has been aggressive in his quest to build a winning team and has been a key factor toward the Nets making the playoffs for each of the last three seasons. Beyond this, he has been a tremendous friend, wonderful colleague and loyal partner and we wish him success in the future.
I also want to thank Lionel for his efforts and dedication on behalf of the Nets franchise. To our fans, I thank you for your continued enthusiasm and support and please know that brighter days are ahead. I’m excited to begin the process of choosing the best GM and head coach available."
Last year, Hollins' first as the Brooklyn head coach, the team went 38-44 and made the playoffs as the #8 seed in the east, where they lost to top-seeded Atlanta in six games. The Nets were 10-27 when Hollins was let go yesterday.
Many people feel that Prokhorov's strategy of trying to turn the Nets into a microwave contender, similar to Dan Snyder's ill-fated moves with the Washington football team years ago, by making splashy moves for veteran free agents on the decline was ultimately to blame much more so than Hollins' work on the bench.
Their moves to acquire Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, while trading away their 2012 first-round draft pick, which turned into Damian Lillard, to Portland for Gerald Wallace has doomed the franchise's ability to field a contender in the immediate future. They will be unable to build through the draft right away, as their 2016 and 2018 first-round picks belong to Boston, while the Celtics have the right to swap first-round picks in 2017 as well.
General manager Billy King also resigned from his post but was reassigned and took another role within the organization. Assistant coach Tony Brown is expected to serve as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.