NEW YORK -- The Brooklyn Nets fired coach Lionel Hollins and reassigned general manager Billy King on Sunday in the midst of their worst season since moving from New Jersey.
The Nets said assistant Tony Brown will serve as the interim head coach, and the GM position will remain open until a replacement is hired.
The Nets have lost four in a row overall and nine straight at home, where attendance has dwindled at the $1 billion Barclays Center. The Nets had made the playoffs every year since relocating for the 2012-13 season, but they are 10-27, better only than the league-worst Philadelphia 76ers.
King had been GM since 2010, orchestrating a number of high-profile moves that led to just one playoff series victory. Hollins was in his second season as coach.
"It's clear from our current state of affairs that we need new leadership," owner Mikhail Prokhorov said in a statement. "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 worked hard to fulfill Prokhorov's goal of winning a championship within five years of buying the team in 2010, making blockbuster trades that brought in Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
Only Johnson remains, as the Nets decided to cut costs after at one point owning the largest payroll in league history. But they haven't been competitive now and have little hope of a quick fix in the future, as their first-round pick next season goes to Boston as part of the payment from the deal that brought Pierce and Garnett in 2013.
"At every step of the way, he has been aggressive in his quest to build a winning team and has been a key factor toward the Nets making the playoffs for each of the last three seasons," Prokhorov said of King, who was in the last year of his contract.
It's about time.
Obviously, Billy King has put this franchise in a horrible spot, the future long ago mortgaged for, what amounted to, one playoff series win. In the year-and-a-half that followed, the Nets have hit new levels of uninspired play, and it's only gotten worse this season. Frankly, outside of a few wins against Atlanta in the playoffs last year, Lionel Hollins' entire tenure was one big letdown. The team looks like it quit on him, and it finally did both King and Hollins in.
I'm curious how the Nets will manage the transition. To say the organization has a lot of work to do to become competitive again is an understatement. Getting a top-flight GM candidate to come into a situation with practically no picks until 2019, and doing it midseason to boot, will be an incredibly tough sell. But with a few tradeable pieces on their hands, they need someone to come in and navigate tearing down the current roster before the deadline. It's going to be a very interesting few weeks for Brooklyn.