The Atlanta Hawks have officially named former Sixers assistant Lloyd Pierce head coach, inking him to a 4 year deal with the 4th year being a team option. During Pierce’s time with the Sixers, his main responsibilities were concerned with the defensive side of the ball. The Sixers finished this season with the 3rd best defensive rating in the NBA. Before this season, the Sixers hadn’t had an especially impressive defense by statistical measures, but it’s no secret that Pierce wasn’t working with the most talented or athletic roster.
By many accounts, Pierce was well-respected by players and the coaching staff alike. The Sixers released Brett Brown’s statement regarding Pierce’s departure:
I am proud of Lloyd Pierce’s growth while we have been together. I’ve maintained a steady belief during my five seasons with him that he truly possesses so many head coaching qualities and skills. I think he’s fantastic and the Atlanta Hawks hired a committed person who has helped us grow our program from ground zero. I am grateful for his loyalty and friendship. Watching young coaches reach new levels is a very similar feeling to watching a player grow. Lloyd Pierce and his wife Melissa will be missed in Philadelphia. We wish them well.
Robert Covington had his own thoughts on Pierce’s hiring:
So lucky to have you as a coach over the years. Nobody deserves it more LP https://t.co/Prhrloqms1— Robert Covington (@Holla_At_Rob33) May 12, 2018
Kyle Neubeck of the Philly Voice mentioned former Charlotte Hornets head coach Steve Clifford as a possible replacement for Pierce:
Name I would keep an eye on when the Sixers get around to replacing Lloyd Pierce on their bench: former Hornets coach Steve Clifford. Defensive minded coach with a long history/connection with Brown. Would be a good fit on both sides.— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) May 12, 2018
Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer recently said in an article, in regards to Kawhi Leonard, that “sources have said the Sixers have expressed interest in the two-time all-star.” Kawhi is still under contract, so the Sixers would have to formulate a trade if they were to acquire the 2x All-Star.
Leonard played in just 9 games this season, missing 73 games due to a quad injury. Aside from the injury, there has been much speculation about whether or not Leonard has any desire to continue playing in San Antonio. Unsubstantiated rumors have suggested that people in Leonard’s circle believe he could make more money profiting from his marketability if he were playing in a larger media market than San Antonio.
The whole situation Between Kawhi and the Spurs has been extremely odd; it may be the only story to top the Markelle Fultz saga in terms of utter weirdness. If the Sixers are truly interested in making a play for Kawhi, they’ll need to do their due diligence in getting to the bottom of Kawhi’s injury and why the relationship between Leonard and the franchise has turned sour.
If the Sixers are to make an offer to the Spurs for Kawhi, I would think it would at least have to start around a few first round picks and some combination of Jerryd Bayless (so the Sixers can shed salary to accommodate Leonard), Markelle Fultz, Dario Saric, Robert Covington, and/or Jonah Bolden. It would require the Sixers give up a lot, but if Leonard is healthy, he’s worth it as a top 5 player in the league and a force on both sides of the court.
Brett Brown is entering the final year of his contract in coaching the Sixers. According to Bryan Colangelo, the general manager is interested in discussing extension terms with Brown.
From the horse’s mouth (Colangelo):
“It’s my intention to sit down with him and discuss a contract extension for him. I don’t think it’s the healthiest situation for a coach to go into a season with one year left on their contract.”
Jonah Bolden, a draft-and-stash big the Sixers selected 36th overall in the 2017 NBA Draft, is expected to join the Sixers’ roster for the 2018-2019 season, according Colangelo.
Bolden, an Australian, played at UCLA from 2014 to 2016 before going pro in Europe and playing for, first, FMP Beograd in Serbia and then Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel.