NBA rumors: Lloyd Pierce of Hawks firing: Sometimes it's just not the right fit

Lloyd Pierce on being fired by the Hawks: Whatever the case may be, I’m not the first person to be fired or let go. And the team’s going on and done well. That’s happened many times before. Sometimes it’s just not the right fit sometimes it’s just not the right understanding. Sometimes the growth of the organization moves at one speed and you’re moving at a different and someone else is able to do it differently and better, or whatever the case may be. And I get that. I think as coaches we all respect one another. And I think Doc’s statements were to be a realist, but also to show support, because he understands the grind that we all go through as coaches the day-to-day part. Are you coaching minute restrictions? Are you coaching injured players? Are you coaching transactions… whatever the case may be, we know it. We know it more than the outside. And so he’s just showing his support. But he’s also saying, hey, I’ve been there. There’s other coaches that have been there. Unfortunately, that’s what we go through, but we all know it.

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Sarah K. Spencer: John Collins on Lloyd Pierce: “A very unforgiving league in the sense of people coming & going, but obviously my time with LP was amazing. He tried to teach me a lot of very powerful things about how to be a man, about how to be a player, about how to develop and improve myself.”
Kevin Chouinard: McMillan on his initial reluctance to accept the interim job. "I told Travis that wasn't what I came here for... (Lloyd) had his assistants in place."
The 44-year-old coach, who was in the last guaranteed year of his contract and who had spoken so openly just last week in an interview with The Athletic about the likelihood that he would be let go, will be replaced by an interim coach in Nate McMillan who had been serving as Pierce’s lead assistant. And the primary reason for it all, sources say, is that several players — from Young on down — were eager to hear a new voice.
Pierce made a public comment two seasons ago about not running plays for Collins, and it rubbed the Hawks big man the wrong way. Collins went to Pierce about his issue with the statement, but Pierce, sources say, turned around and called Collins’ approach selfish in wanting to have a more defined role on the team. Over time, the residue from these types of situations remained.
There wasn’t a specific event that led to Pierce losing the locker room but rather a collection of small moments that built up since his first season in Atlanta and finally combusted in the team’s first season with expectations under him. “There’s no telling when he lost it,” one source close to the team said. “He didn’t have support from many people. It came down to him not being able to manage egos. That’s what did him in, especially these young guys. It’s tough.”
During a league office Competition Committee call on Dec. 30, Pierce was among a couple of members who spoke out about the way certain players are able to draw fouls and, at times, bait officials into making foul calls. Multiple sources said he spoke about how he “hates” the shots Young takes at times and the fouls he’s able to draw on them. It was perceived as an interesting comment for several people on the call because Pierce’s star player has seemingly taken advantage of drawing fouls and getting to the foul line. But it was made in the broader picture of how players are drawing fouls by manipulating their bodies.
Over the past few weeks, players started to wonder if Pierce had resigned to the inevitability of his situation and was going to go out his way. As the same story played out in end-of-game situations, sources say Hawks owner Ressler grew incensed with his team losing winnable games in the same manner.
By the time the Hawks reached the unexpected end of their 2019-20 campaign, with a 20-47 record on March 11 that would stand for good after the NBA decided not to invite the Hawks (or seven other teams) to the Orlando bubble, sources say Pierce’s job security was already extremely tenuous, in large part, because of the locker room’s distrust in him. When Pierce publicly declared last March that the Hawks would be in the playoffs this season, it caught everyone inside the front office by surprise.
Stan Van Gundy: Today was a bad day in the NBA. A great man lost his job. Lloyd Pierce is not only a very good coach he is a great and inspirational leader. I learned a great deal from him last summer on phone calls regarding social justice. The NBA needs Lloyd Pierce! He’ll be back!
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