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Hawks hire Lloyd Pierce as head coach

The Hawks reached an agreement with Lloyd Pierce to be their head coach, the team announced Friday. 

Pierce will receive a three-year contract with a team option for a fourth season, according to a person familiar with the agreement.

Pierce, 42, has been on 76ers coach Brett Brown’s staff for the past five seasons. The Sixers lost 54 or more games during Brown’s first four seasons before the players they accumulated with high draft picks formed the core of this season’s team, which lost to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals this week. 

The Hawks are following a rebuilding path like Philadelphia’s.  

“As we set out to find a new head coach for our team, it was critically important to find a dynamic teacher who could connect with and develop our young core while instilling the culture and high standards we feel are necessary in a successful program,” Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk said in a statement released by the team. “Lloyd Pierce checks every box, and we couldn’t be more excited to have him leading the Atlanta Hawks into the future.”

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Pierce succeeds Mike Budenholzer as Hawks coach. The Hawks and Budenholzer parted ways following five seasons.

The Hawks said they will officially introduce Pierce at a Monday news conference.

Pierce’s Hawks candidacy was buoyed by working with Schlenk for part of one season in Golden State. Pierce was hired by the Warriors in December 2010 after Stephen Silas left for a position with the Hornets. Mark Jackson, then head coach of the Warriors, didn’t retain Pierce for the next season. 

Pierce reportedly was in charge of Philadelphia’s defense this season. The Sixers ranked fourth in defensive efficiency during the regular season. 

Schlenk interviewed seven candidates for head coach. The Hawks hoped to hire David Fizdale before he accepted the head coach job with the Knicks. After that, Pierce emerged as the favorite among a group of finalists that also included Trail Blazers assistant Nate Tibbetts, Hornets assistant Stephen Silas and Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga. 

Before joining Brown’s Sixers staff, Pierce was a player-development assistant with the Grizzlies from 2011-13. He served in a similar role with the Cavaliers from 2007-10 and was an assistant coach at Santa Clara University from 2002-07.

Pierce is a native of San Jose, Calif. He played basketball at Santa Clara and graduated with a degree in business management. Pierce played four seasons internationally before returning to his alma mater to coach.

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