Hawks coaching search proving serious

Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

The hunt for the Next Atlanta Hawks Coach has proven two things: One, they believe it’s time to change the voice and direction of the Hawks on the court and Two, the usual Atlanta Hawks approach will not be needed anymore.

Okay, forget what I said about timing of a coaching change, the nature of a changing roster and the other variables that would have allowed the retaining of Larry Drew as Hawks head coach to make sense.

Forget that because, as we are seeing from the Hawks Front Office, Danny Ferry doesn't require or desire a five year plan - the time is now.

Completely out of his hands is the nature of free agents - well, for the most part. What is under his control is bringing in a head coach that he feels best accomplishes Task #1: Building a championship franchise.

To blow out Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams last summer and decide to not re-sign Larry Drew is to say that Ferry doesn't want to monkey around with being ok. No longer is the sense of status quo valid - unless that status quo is the intention of building a champion.

And it's not just the intent of changing bench coaches that makes this so, it's the level of targets that Ferry is going after. In the last two weeks we've seen Stan Van Gundy and Nate McMillan linked to job interviews - maybe the two most experienced, successful head coaches on the market already to talk to.

Why does this indicate a change of paradigm in the HFO? We've long reminded that the Hawks haven't sought and hired a head coach with previous NBA head coaching experience since the team brought in Lenny Wilkens 20 years ago.

Since Wilkens there's been Lon Kruger, a fallback college position from their true target, Tom Izzo. Then Terry Stotts, Mike Woodson and Larry Drew, none of which possessed previous experience as an NBA head man.

To go after a seasoned, previously successful head coach such as Van Gundy and McMillan costs money, money previously not lavished on a Hawks head coach since Wilkens. If the Hawks are serious about bringing someone of this level in, whether it happens or not, it indicates a heightened level of seriousness about the team's on-court intentions.

Now, it might be these discussions are less than we might think, and it's true that coaching candidates every year use open head count for their own publicity and to massage and message their value across the league.

But even the conversation, the search, the statement that what's past is past and not to be settled on brings a feeling of hope and possibility of the team raising the bar from playoff maker to serious contender.

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