Brooklyn Nets: Lionel Hollins Fired… What Next?

Breaking News to Brooklyn’s Finest… The world is round and not flat. In other news, the Brooklyn Nets made a major shakeup in the organization.

All together now…


The Brooklyn Nets fired Lionel Hollins and “reassigned” Billy King to other duties. Granted, no one knows what in the world that is. For that answer we need to get Lawrence Frank’s phone number and ask him. Bring a couple of dollars for the phone bill because he is currently on Doc Rivers’s staff in Los Angeles with the Clippers franchise. For more Brooklyn’s Finest team coverage, please check out Paul Mitchell’s report on Lionel Hollins and Billy King’s departure. It is a detailed and informative read.

Here’s part of Mikhail Prokhorov’s statement released Sunday…

“After careful consideration, I’ve concluded that it’s time for a fresh start and a new vision for the direction of the team,” said the Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov. “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 into 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.”

Paul Westphal, who was Hollins’s lead assistant, stepped to the left as well. I was hoping that he would be the guy to take over but his wife, Cindy, summed it all up on his Facebook fan page…

“Paul’s loyalty was and is to Lionel.”

Paul Westphal showed a lot of class in this move. There is nothing more admirable than showing loyalty to a friend that you have known for a long time (The two were together back in Phoenix when they went to the Finals back 1993). But this does not bode well going forward for the Nets.

Tony Brown, a former Net and team defensive coach, will take over in the interim.

That’s going to be interesting, considering that the Nets are one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA right now. Plus we need to deal with the real here. It was obvious that the team had checked out from listening to the coaching of Lionel Hollins. Being thrown under the bus numerous times for obvious coaching mistakes will do that to a player. But here’s the issue…

Getting a player to buy into a system takes time and a resume, which Brown has none of at this point. Also, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that Brown is there as a stopgap until ownership, led by Mikhail Prokhorov, figures out what to do next.

What route he does take at this point is like picking numbers for the Powerball. Here’s a breakdown based on what Mikhail Prokhorov said, in my opinion…

1.) A change had to be made, but the same mistake is being committed in making these changes.

Has anyone noticed that the breakups, whether it be coaches or players, are extremely messy? Need examples? How about the Avery Johnson situation? I mean, he had just won Coach of the Month a couple of weeks before he was fired! Oh, by the way, the Nets were .500 at the time of his firing. Would anyone take those circumstances right now?

Oh, that Jason Kidd fiasco. Which one? Pick one. The aforementioned Lawrence Frank didn’t make it to the regular season before he was “reassigned” to a broom closet… I mean filing duties. Like I said before, now he’s in L.A. Then that “power move” that Kidd tried to use to undermine Billy King? What’s shocking is that this happened in one year!

The Deron Williams exit. He’s in Dallas. He’s playing well. He was never replaced. This looks bad on the franchise.

2.) The Brooklyn Nets are nothing to be proud of at this point and ugly to watch.

Sure, these are harsh words, but this team is about five years behind the state of the NBA construction of a team.  Small ball is the rage of the NBA with a stretch four. The Nets have constructed their team around a center that is highly skilled but cannot carry a team. Brook Lopez is not a player that one would say, “Franchise player”. This team was built to save money. Period. Winning was never part of the equation. If anyone believed that, God bless you, but you are delusional. Speaking of saving money…

3.) No one is going buy tickets to watch a bad team with no superstar.

Is it too late to give Jay-Z his part of the team back? I would pay to watch Beyoncé eat popcorn in the front row. That’s a lot more appealing than watching Joe Johnson’s career fall off a cliff. The Nets have set records for futility of fans sitting in the Barclays Center. My father, Walter, always told me it takes a loss of capital for moves to be made. With Prokhorov taking full ownership of the Brooklyn Nets, he had to take a look at the bottom line of the financial ledger. It probably was bleeding more than Jason and Freddie in an all-night horror movie marathon. The product that the Brooklyn Nets have on the floor is difficult to sell to the fans in Brooklyn right now. The fans represent the consumer and they need a reason to spend their money. With no stars and no draft picks, the fans have no reason to invest in season tickets if things continue down this road. Ownership realizes this.

4.) Mikhail Prokhorov has a ton of work to do to gain the trust of the fans.

Remember the promise Mikhail Prokhorov said when he bought the Nets? He would get married if the Nets did not win a title in five years? Well, this promise is considered more shallow about being more committed and determined to build a winner. The undisputed owner of the Nets did not own the team entirely, but he did own a fair share of the team. Where was the commitment then? False promises and dysfunction is the book on the team these days. How can you be committed to winning without a day-to-day General Manager? As of this writing the Nets don’t have one. Management has a ton of work to do starting with finding a GM to run the team.

Prokhorov will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. Monday at Barclays Center