After two and a half seasons as the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, Lloyd Pierce has been dismissed from the role. The team announced the news on Monday afternoon, with GM Travis Schlenk adding a statement.
"We would like to thank Lloyd for his work and commitment to not only the Hawks organization but the city of Atlanta. He and his wife, Melissa, are tremendous people who have made a positive impact throughout the city,” Schlenk said in the statement. “We have high expectations for our team on the court and we believe by making this change now that we can have a strong second half of the season."
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Nate McMillan has accepted the interim head coach position after a long head coaching career with other teams.
Pierce was brought on after the end of the Hawks' 2017-18 campaign, in which they posted a 24-58 record under Mike Budenholzer. However, things didn't get much better, as Atlanta posted records of 29-53 and 20-47 in subsequent seasons.
After a busy offseason in which the Hawks brought Danilo Gallinari and Bogdan Bogdanovic — both of whom have dealt with injuries — to thrust Trae Young, John Collins, Clint Capela and company back into playoff contention, the Hawks have come out sputtering, with a 14-20 record. Though their recent stretch has included some good wins over teams like the Nuggets and the Celtics, they've had some dismal losses against teams like the Thunder and the Spurs, the latter of which was a major blowout early on.
Pierce acknowledged heat he had been drawing in recent weeks with Jeff Schultz, making it seem like he knew that there was a possibility of his place on the hot seat.
“It’s always going to fall on me,” Pierce said. “That’s part of sports. I’m glad it falls on me because it won’t shake me one bit.
“Travis is going to fire me one day. And do you know what I’m going to say? The guy gave me a great opportunity in life. Do you think I’m going to be pissed? He’s damn near my best friend.”
Pierce's overall record with the Hawks ends at 63-120.