Hawks fire head coach Nate McMillan
The Atlanta Hawks announced on Tuesday they had fired head coach Nate McMillan after reaching the All-Star break with a 29-30 record.
It was meant to be an exciting season in Atlanta as McMillan prepared for his second full campaign in charge, having taken over from Lloyd Pierce shortly after the All-Star break in the 2020-21 season.
That year, after taking charge, McMillan led the Hawks to a blistering 27-11 finish, earning the fifth seed in the East and going on to make the Eastern Conference Finals after winning series against both the New York Knicks and the Philadelphia 76ers.
They took a step back the following season, finishing eighth in the East with a first-round playoff exit, and they continued trending in the wrong direction this time around.
At least with last season's disappointing end, the team could point to the fact that they had the league's second-best offense in the regular season, but were just weighed down by the fifth-worst defense.
Now the Hawks sit 16th in offense and 21st in defense, lacking any kind of identity. With the trade deadline having already passed, this is the group Atlanta will have to win with down the home stretch, and ultimately the franchise decided McMillan had run out of ideas on how to right the ship.
It is the first major decision made by Hawks general manager Landry Fields since taking over from Travis Schlenk in late-December, and he told The Athletic he needed to see more progress.
"This is something I've been monitoring," he said. "To have the overall showing that we did – I don't want to put too much on the last couple of [losses]... but those were definitely significant.
"We're just not seeing enough progress."
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, assistant coach Joe Prunty will take over as interim head coach while they conduct a "wide-ranging" search for a permanent solution.
Wojnarowski claims the Hawks are looking for a coach who has shown an ability to develop players, produce a top-10 offense and defense, and take accountability.
He states former Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder is viewed as a top candidate, while The Athletic's Shams Charania adds Milwaukee Bucks associate head coach Charles Lee – who spent four seasons as a Hawks assistant before following Mike Budenholzer to Milwaukee – is also a "serious candidate".
Other names mentioned as potential hires were Golden State Warriors assistant and former Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, Sacramento Kings assistant coach Jordi Fernandez, San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Mitch Johnson and G-League head coach Miles Simon.