On Tuesday, the Atlanta Hawks split ways with head coach Nate McMillan, opening the door for an urgent search beginning with top contender Quin Snyder.
The Hawks have promoted their assistant coach, Joe Prunty, to head coach for a team currently in eighth place in the Eastern Conference and has a record of 29-30. However, according to sources, the Hawks’ new general manager, Landry Fields, will begin the search for the franchise’s next head coach as early as Tuesday.
According to insiders, ownership and management of the Hawks chose to announce the move now with time remaining to salvage a postseason season and start the search for the franchise’s next coach. The departure of McMillan and the Hawks had been anticipated to occur in the summer.
This is the second big shake-up inside the Hawks’ leadership this season. Travis Schlenk, the team’s president of basketball operations, resigned on December 21, paving the way for Fields to take over as the team’s primary basketball decision-maker.
Sources say that Charles Lee, associate head coach for the Milwaukee Bucks, and Kenny Atkinson, assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors, are two additional candidates expected to participate in the process. Charles Lee and Kenny Atkinson worked as Hawks assistant coaches under Mike Budenholzer.
Under Snyder’s direction, the Jazz qualified for the playoffs in the Western Conference a record six years in a row, including three times for the conference semifinals. Snyder, who was 56 years old at the time of his resignation after the 2021-22 season, is anticipated to be towards the top of the candidate lists maintained by many clubs throughout this offseason.
The Atlanta Hawks have big off-season choices on how they want to build the roster. If the Hawks have the opportunity to move swiftly on a coaching search, it may provide them with a better prism through which they can analyze the future of the club. According to our sources, Fields is looking for a coach who can elevate the level of player development and responsibility at the club and propel the team closer to the top 10 in both offensive and defensive rankings.
According to reports, Fields has strongly emphasized identifying the attributes of a Hawks player and wants this coaching search to assist in creating those qualities.
For now, Prunty will act as the head coach of the team for the second time in his career. After taking over for Jason Kidd as head coach of the Bucks in 2018, Prunty led the team to a regular season record of 21-16. They were eliminated from the playoffs in the first round by the Boston Celtics after being defeated in a seven-game series.
McMillan succeeded Lloyd Pierce as interim coach in 2021 and guided the team to the championship game of the Eastern Conference. Despite his success, he has a record of 99–80 as head coach and was given a contract for a full four years. This season, the Hawks have ranked 16th in offensive efficiency and 21st in defensive efficiency.