Spurs HC Gregg Popovich Throws Shade at Hawks for Lloyd Pierce's Firing

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMarch 2, 2021

Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce looks on during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Friday, March 6, 2020, in Washington. The Wizards won 118-112. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich spoke highly of Lloyd Pierce in the wake of the Atlanta Hawks' decision to fire him.

Popovich addressed Pierce's firing after the Spurs' game against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday:

Tim Reynolds @ByTimReynolds

Gregg Popovich spoke very highly of Lloyd Pierce, his assistant on the USA Basketball Men’s National Team, and was not pleased by today’s news out of Atlanta. His words tonight, from our @Abrjsdad: https://t.co/4E7AjNvtN9

The Hawks announced Monday that Pierce had been relieved of his duties after two-plus seasons with the organization.

The Hawks had high hopes after acquiring Danilo Gallinari and Bogdan Bogdanovic during the offseason.

It initially looked like those moves would help Atlanta make the playoffs for the first time since 2016-17. The team won four of its first five games and was over .500 on Jan. 29 with a 10-9 record.

Since that date, the Hawks have lost 11 of 15 games to fall to 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings. Despite being 14-20, they are 1.5 games out of a play-in spot and three games behind the Miami Heat for the lead in the Southeast Division and the No. 5 seed.

The Hawks hired Pierce in 2018 after they parted ways with Mike Budenholzer. The 44-year-old went 63-120 as Atlanta's head coach. Nate McMillan, who was an assistant on Pierce's staff, will take over as the interim head coach.

Prior to his stint with the Hawks, Pierce worked as an assistant coach for 11 seasons with four different teams.