The Atlanta Hawks have gone more than two weeks without a head coach after the organization and Mike Budenholzer mutually parted ways. With the looks of things, that vacancy might not last much longer.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Philadelphia 76ers assistant Lloyd Pierce has become the focus of the Hawks’ coaching search. Wojnarowski said Pierce, who just finished his fifth season in Philadelphia, “met with Atlanta Hawks officials for a third time on Friday” and that “a formal offer is expected as soon as today.”
Pierce spoke to Philly.com Wednesday after his second interview with the Hawks. He said he felt he would be a good fit for Atlanta, although he was unsure how close the team was to making a hire.
“The main reason is just looking at their young players,” Pierce told Philly.com. “They got four guys in the draft. They’ve got a couple of young players that are on their roster. So what’s most important when you are dealing with young players and young talent, it’s the development and relational side of that.
“It’s kind of my track record. It’s anybody’s track record of how do you communicate, how do you work with players, how do you develop, what does that mean?”
Pierce’s hiring would make him the 29th head coach in the Hawks’ franchise history.
Pierce has been part of a 76ers coaching staff that oversaw the team’s complete rebuild. Two seasons after only winning 10 games, Philadelphia captured 52 regular-season victories in 2017-2018. The 76ers defeated the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs, giving Philadelphia its first playoff series win since 2011-2012.
Prior to going to Philadelphia, Pierce had coaching stints with the Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers. Pierce’s one-year stint at Golden State coincided with current Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk’s time with the team.
A former basketball player at Santa Clara alongside Steve Nash, Pierce played internationally in Mexico, Australia, Germany and Turkey for four seasons. Pierce then began his coaching career with a four-year stint as an assistant at his alma mater.
Pierce’s experience with rebuilding makes him an ideal candidate for the Hawks. Atlanta is fresh off a 24-win season, which left the team tied for the third-worst record in the NBA. The Hawks possess four of the first 34 picks in the NBA Draft, three of which fall in the first round.
According to ESPN, Atlanta has a 13.7 percent chance of obtaining the No. 1 overall pick when the lottery occurs on May 15.