The 56-year-old McMillan has 16 years of head coaching experience, most recently with the Indiana Pacers, who fired him after last season. McMillan has a 661-588 (.529) career record with the Seattle SuperSonics, Portland Trail Blazers and Pacers.
The Hawks, who invested heavily in Danilo Gallinari and Bogdan Bogdanovic during free agency, entered the season expecting to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2017. Instead, reports of locker room tension surfaced early in the season, and then Atlanta stumbled to a 4-11 record in February. While many analysts expected the Hawks to boast a top-five offense around guard Trae Young, the Hawks have ranked ninth in offensive efficiency and 25th in defensive efficiency, marking the third consecutive season Atlanta has ranked in the bottom six in the NBA in defense.
“We would like to thank Lloyd for his work and commitment to not only the Hawks organization but the city of Atlanta,” Hawks General Manager Travis Schlenk said in a statement. “He and his wife, Melissa, are tremendous people who have made a positive impact throughout the city. 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.”
Despite showing some progress in the standings compared with last season, Atlanta’s start has been disappointing given the front office’s aggressive moves to put veteran pieces around Young. Center Clint Capela arrived at last year’s trade deadline to stabilize the defense; Gallinari and Bogdanovic were added to space the court around Young; and Rajon Rondo was signed to assist with the ballhandling duties.
But Bogdanovic suffered an early-season knee injury, and both Gallinari and Rondo have struggled to make a positive impact. Young, whose ball-dominant style and aggressive shot selection have reportedly come under fire from teammates, was left off this year’s all-star team after starting in last year’s game.
Pierce, who has also served as an assistant coach for USA Basketball under San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich, was an outspoken advocate on social justice issues and voting rights throughout his tenure. His dismissal comes just days before the city of Atlanta is set to host the NBA’s scaled-down All-Star Weekend during a midseason break that begins Friday.