These changes won’t immediately push the Brooklyn Nets from perpetual bottom feeder to championship contender. Long-term, though, the ousters of an obviously ineffective coach and personnel decision-maker seems the first step to getting Mikhail Prokhorov’s organization on the path to success.
In a release posted on their website Sunday morning, the Nets announced the dismissal of Lionel Hollins and reassignment of Billy King. Assistant Tony Brown will serve as the team’s interim coach, and the position of general manager will remain unfilled until a replacement is found.
Prokhorov cited the need “for a fresh start and a new vision” as justification for this major front-office shakeup.
“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 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…”
King was hired as general manager the New Jersey Nets in 2010 and remained with the team during its ownership change and subsequent move to Brooklyn. Under direction from Prokhorov and other higher-ups, he initiated the infamous summer 2013 trade for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce that left the Nets bereft of financial flexibility and future draft considerations – a deal from which they’re still reeling.
Hollins, meanwhile, signed a four-year contract with Brooklyn in July 2014. The coaching veteran helped his wayward team to a playoff berth last season, but that middling success – combined with a 10-27 start to 2015-16 – wasn’t enough to engender confidence from Prokhorov in his ability to lead the Nets going forward.