Lionel Hollins has been fired by the Brooklyn Nets, and General Manager Billy King has been reassigned. As the Associated Press noted, the moves come amid the Nets worst season since moving from Newark, New Jersey, to the Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn.
In a press release on the team’s website, Brooklyn Nets owner (and Russian billionaire) Mikhail Prokhorov explained the move, which places Assistant Coach Tony Brown in the head coach’s position (at least temporarily) in the middle of the season.
“After careful consideration, I’ve concluded that it’s time for a fresh start and a new vision for the direction of the team,” Prokhorov said. “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.”
Prokhorov went on to “thank Lionel for his efforts and dedication on behalf of the Nets franchise.”
As the AP noted, the team has lost nine straight home games in Brooklyn. As a result of the losses, the team is bleeding fans at its fancy new arena.
“The Nets have lost four in a row overall and nine straight at home, where attendance has dwindled at the $1 billion Barclays Center. The Nets made the playoffs every year since relocating for the 2012-13 season, but they are 10-27, better only than the league-worst Philadelphia 76ers.”
Things are not looking any better for the team throughout the rest of the season. The NBA has a series of strong teams doing a good job this year, including reigning champions from Oakland, the Golden State Warriors. Other teams holding their own this year include the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs, with SB Nation recently calling the Spurs the best team in the NBA. It is obvious that several of these teams, like Golden State, Oklahoma City, and San Antonio have deep benches with powerful plays like Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Tim Duncan. What does Brooklyn have? To be honest, not much at this point. Most analysts agree that the Brooklyn bench is forgettable, and Hollins’ coaching the last two seasons has been far short of the stunning start Brooklyn had when they made the move to Brooklyn.
So, what does the team do now that Lionel Hollins has been canned? The team’s owner said the rest of this season will focus on finding a coach who knows how to building a winning team and has a record to back him up.
“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,” Prokhorov told the team’s supporters.
As for what General Manager Bill King will do in his reassignment? Team ownership did not spell out any specifics, but it has to be better than being canned outright, like Lionel Hollins.
As for the top teams in the league, the Eastern Conference is currently led by Cleveland’s Cavaliers, with 25 wins and only nine losses, while the Warriors lead the Western conference at 35 wins and two losses. But the Spurs are nipping at their heels with 32 wins and only six losses.
[Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images]