The 2020-21 NBA season hasn't even reached the All-Star break yet, but two coaches have already been relieved of their duties. The most recent firing came on the first day of March, as the Atlanta Hawks decided to move on from Lloyd Pierce. Pierce had been the team's coach since the beginning of the 2018-19 season and he was responsible for overseeing a rebuilding period for the franchise after a stretch of sustained mediocrity.
Pierce went 63-120 overall during his tenure thanks to an extremely young roster, but after a free-agent spending spree this offseason, Hawks ownership clearly expected more immediate results. At the time of Pierce's firing, the Hawks were just 14-20, and outside of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks didn't immediately name a replacement for Pierce, though they're hopeful that assistant Nate McMillan will choose to become the interim coach. McMillan spent the past four seasons as the coach of the Indiana Pacers.
Pierce's dismissal comes just over a week after the Minnesota Timberwolves fired Ryan Saunders after a league-worst 7-24 start to the season. Saunders had been the Wolves' coach since midway through the 2018-19 season. Almost immediately after firing Saunders, Minnesota named Raptors assistant Chris Finch as the team's new coach on a full-time basis. Finch had previously interviewed for the position before Saunders was hired, so there was familiarity between the two sides. The hiring of Finch -- and the quick nature of the process that led to his hiring -- drew some criticism from the NBCA, but the Timberwolves clearly felt that they made the move that was best for them.
We'll keep you updated below with all the coaching moves around the league.
NBA hirings and firings
|TBD||Lloyd Pierce||The Hawks decided to move on from Pierce after two and a half seasons in Atlanta. Pierce started off by overseeing a rebuild, but after the team went big in free agency over the offseason, expectations were elevated. At the time of his firing, the Hawks were just 14-20 and well outside of the playoff picture in the East. The Hawks are hopeful assistant Nate McMillan will choose to become the team's interim coach.|
|Chris Finch||Ryan Saunders||After an extremely slow start to the season, the Timberwolves decided to move on from Ryan Saunders. Almost immediately after firing Saunders, Minnesota named Toronto Raptors assistant coach Chris Finch as their new coach. Finch is a first-time head coach, but the Wolves are hoping he can turn things around for a team that has only made the postseason once in the last 15 seasons.|
|Stephen Silas||Mike D'Antoni||Silas will enter his first head-coaching gig facing immediate expectations. The Rockets have made the postseason for eight straight seasons, but they have been unable to advance out of the West. Pressure will be on Silas to change that.|
|Stan Van Gundy||Alvin Gentry||The Pelicans wanted a coach with postseason experience, and they got that in Van Gundy. He led the Heat to the Eastern Conference finals in 2005 (they lost to the Detroit Pistons in seven games) and his Orlando Magic team made it to the NBA Finals in 2009 where they lost to the Kobe Bryant-led Los Angeles Lakers in five games. The Magic also made it back to the conference finals in 2010.|
|Nate Bjorkgren||Nate McMillan||Indiana went with a first-time head coach in Bjorkgren, but they're clearly hoping that the championship experience he gained on the sideline in Toronto will help the team get over the hump, as they have lost in the first round in five straight seasons.|
|Ty Lue||Doc Rivers||Lue served as an assistant under Doc Rivers last season, and thus he is familiar with the Clippers roster and organization. Lue brings championship experience to the sideline after leading the Cavaliers to a title in 2016, and the Clippers are hoping that he will be able to push the right buttons in order to get them to their first Finals.|
|Doc Rivers||Brett Brown||The Philadelphia 76ers parted ways with Brett Brown after seven seasons at the helm. He was there for Sam Hinkie's regime and eventually turned the team around into a contender, guiding them to the playoffs in each of the past three seasons. They routinely fell short in the playoffs, however, and though there's debate about how much of that was Brown's fault, the front office decided the team needed a new coach. Initially, they had their sights set on Mike D'Antoni, but after Doc Rivers parted ways with the Clippers, the Sixers quickly got in touch and gave him the job.|
|Billy Donovan||Jim Boylen||The Chicago Bulls fired Jim Boylen on Aug. 14 after an abysmal 39-84 record over a year-plus at the helm. In their first big move, Arturas Karnisovas, the new vice president of basketball operations, and Marc Eversley, the new general manager, hired former Thunder coach Billy Donovan as their new head coach.|
|Steve Nash||Kenny Atkinson||The Nets went with a splashy hire in Nash, someone who has no coaching experience whatsoever, but has plenty of name recognition. Nash's close relationship with Kevin Durant likely played a significant role in choosing him to lead Brooklyn, after the two worked closely together while K.D. was with the Warriors . Although Nash has no coaching experience to speak of, he's one of the smartest point guards to ever play the game, we'll have to see if that translates well as a coach.|
|Tom Thibodeau||Mike Miller||After an exhaustive search directed by new president Leon Rose, the Knicks ultimately decided that Thibodeau was the right guy for the job. Thibodeau previously served as the head coach of the Bulls and the Timberwolves , and he is known for having well-disciplined teams that excel on the defensive end of the floor. Thibodeau will now have an opportunity to mold a young Knicks roster that includes promising players like R.J. Barrett and Mitchell Robinson .|
|J.B. Bickerstaff||John Beilein||Beilein resigned from his post as coach of the Cavaliers during the All-Star Break, leaving Cleveland with a 14-40 record. J.B. Bickerstaff took over as head coach from there.|
|Mark Daigneault||Billy Donovan||The Thunder and Billy Donovan mutually agreed to part ways following the conclusion of the season. Donovan had been with the Thunder since 2015 and led them to within one game of reaching the 2016 NBA Finals. However, after four consecutive first round exits, the two sides decided to go in different directions.|