Brooklyn Nets Fire Lionel Hollins, Reassign Billy King

The Brooklyn Nets and owner Mikhail Prokhorov have apparently reached their frustration point with the team’s struggles, and have fired head coach Lionel Hollins and reassigned general manager Billy King this morning

The news comes as a surprise in timing only, with the team having lost last night in Detroit to drop their record to 10-27 on the season and the offense plummeting since the season-ending injury to Jarrett Jack a week ago. Not only have the Nets dropped four games in a row but also sport a nine-game losing streak at the Barclays Center, and have seen development from their (limited) young players stagnate in Hollins’s season-and-a-half as head coach.

Hollins’s status was almost impossible to distinguish from his GM’s, however, in that he never had the team gelling on the defensive end, which could be due to his reported personality clashes with players or the lack of high-end talent he had on hand. He had his share of head-scratching quotes and in-game maneuvers in his time with Brooklyn, and his seemingly random juggling of his young players’ minutes and willingness to play veterans heavy minutes (i.e. Joe Johnson) would fall into the “detrimental” section of his pros-and-cons list, but Hollins at least provided a nice one-year stop-gap last season by getting his team into the playoffs, losing record be damned.

General manager Billy King’s end had been a long time coming, given his spotty track record (to be kind) and the major transactions he’s been responsible for over his six years with the organization. For every Kevin Garnett-for-Thaddeus Young heist he’s pulled off, it’s been countered by twice as many give aways on his end, whether it’s not protecting the draft pick that would become Damian Lillard beyond the top-three after moving it for Gerald Wallace, or, of course, the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade, which will still be felt for years to come. The 2016-17 Brooklyn Nets are Billy King’s squad, and as their fate appeared more and more hopeless as the season progressed, so did King’s.

The major question going forward for the Nets is who replaces King in the interim, as lead assistant Tony Brown takes over the bench for Hollins. Prokhorov addressed leadership in his statements on Sunday, but will work without an official GM for now.

“It’s clear from our current state of affairs that we need new leadership,” owner Mikhail Prokhorov wrote. “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.”

He went on to say that, “We have learned a great deal during the past six years and our experiences will guide us for the future.”

There have been plenty of teachable moments over those six years for the Brooklyn Nets and owner Mikhail Prokhorov, but it will be their next hirings at general manager and head coach which will reveal more about any lessons learned at the NBA level.