Hawks fire head coach Nate McMillan
The Atlanta Hawks announced on Tuesday that they have fired head coach Nate McMillan. Assistant coach Joe Prunty is expected to take over in the interim, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports.
McMillan, 58, has been the head coach in Atlanta since the 2020-21 season. The 29-30 Hawks will come out of the All-Star break in eighth place in the Eastern Conference. While Prunty will lead the team in the interim, the Hawks will conduct a search for a full-time head coach with ex-Jazz coach Quin Snyder, Bucks assistant Charles Lee and Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson under consideration, according to the Wojnarowski.
McMillan's dismissal arrives months after a conflict with star guard Trae Young reportedly prompted Young to skip a Hawks home game in December. It wasn't immediately clear Tuesday what role, if any, that McMillan's relationship with Young played in his dismissal.
A veteran of NBA sidelines, McMillan coached the Seattle SuperSonics, Portland Trail Blazers and Indiana Pacers before joining Atlanta's staff as an assistant for head coach Lloyd Pierce for the 2020-21 season. The Hawks fired Pierce in March of that season and finished 27-11 with McMillan as interim head coach. After a surprise run to the Eastern Conference finals that included a second-round win over the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers, the Hawks hired McMillan full-time.
Atlanta finished 43-39 and earned the No. 8 seed in the East in 2021-22, McMillan's first full year as head coach. They didn't replicate the postseason success of the prior year. The Miami Heat beat them, 4-1, in the first round.
The Hawks upgraded their backcourt last offseason with the trade acquisition of All-Star guard Dejounte Murray from the San Antonio Spurs. The deal was an aggressive, win-now move that saw the Hawks send San Antonio three first-round picks in return.
The hope was that an All-Star backcourt featuring Young and Murray alongside the frontcourt tandem of John Collins and Clint Capela would elevate the Hawks into Eastern Conference contention. Instead, they posted a losing record before the All-Star break and remain well behind the conference's top tier featuring the Bucks, Celtics and 76ers.