NBA Team Fires Head Coach After Two Years

An NBA team is looking for a new head coach. The Atlanta Hawks have fired Nate McMillan with only 23 games remaining in the season and announced that assistant coach Joe Prunty will be the interim head coach. According to ESPN, the Hawks will start looking for a new head coach with Quin Snyder being the leading candidate. 

"I would like to thank Nate for his leadership and professionalism during his time with the Hawks," general manager Landry Fields said in a statement released by the team, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He is truly a class act, and we appreciate the graciousness and work ethic he brought with him every day. Decisions like these, especially in-season, are always extremely difficult, but we believe it's in the best interest of our team to move forward with another voice leading the way."  

ESPN says McMillan and the Hawks were expected to part ways at the end of the season, but ownership and management decided to make the change left as the Hawks are fighting for a playoff spot and start their search for a new head coach. This move comes as the Hawks made leadership changes. President of basketball operations Travis Schlenk stepped down in December to make way for Fields. 

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, McMillian had issues with star play Trae Young as the two got into a verbal altercation during a shootaround in December. That led to Young missing a game against the Denver Nuggets that evening. McMillan reportedly attempted to resign midseason but was convinced to stay on. 

McMillan, 58, joined the Hawks in November 2020 as an assistant coach under Lloyd Pierce. He was named interim head coach of March 2021 after the team fired Pierce and led the Hawks to an appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals. The following season, McMillan led the Hawks to a 42-39 record, and the team lost in the first round of the playoffs. This season, the Hawks have a 29-30 record and are in danger of missing the playoffs. 

Before joining the Hawks, McMillian was an assistant and head coach for the Indiana Pacers from 2013-2020. He was also the head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers from 2005-2012 and was an assistant and head coach of the Seattle SuperSonics from 1998-2005. McMillan played in the NBA from 1986-1998, spending his entire career with the SuperSonics.