The Atlanta Hawks have reportedly made another change at the head-coaching position. Tuesday afternoon ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Hawks dismissed head coach, Nate McMillan with the plans to promote assistant coach Joe Prunty to the interim role.
The Atlanta Hawks dismissed coach Nate McMillan, sources tell ESPN. pic.twitter.com/Jjh3qlCnCX— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 21, 2023
McMillan was likely to be gone at the end of the season anyways it seemed, but this still came as a surprising move in the middle of the All-Star break. Prunty will now take over as the Hawks look to secure a playoff spot following a mediocre performance to this point in the season.
Joe Prunty will be the interim Hawks coach, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 21, 2023
Wojnarowski also reports the Hawks have plans to start a search for a new head coach immediately.
The Hawks are starting a search for a new head coach immediately, sources tell ESPN. Among the top characteristics in the search: player development, accountability and getting Hawks offense and defense into league's Top 10.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 21, 2023
The Hawks currently have their work cut out for them if they want to get into the top six of the Eastern Conference ahead of the postseason. Perhaps the move provides the spark to the team, but the Hawks’ season of changes and overhaul continues. President of basketball operations, Travis Schlenk stepped down earlier this season, and now the longtime veteran head coach is no longer with the team.
Prunty and freshly minted GM Landry Fields will now look to make the proper changes to help the Hawks reach the postseason. Atlanta will need a significant hot streak similar to ones they have had in recent years with Trae Young & Co. if they have any plans of making an extended playoff run.
The Hawks confirmed the move Tuesday evening, with Fields adding the following statement:
“I would like to thank Nate for his leadership and professionalism during his time with the Hawks. He is truly a class act, and we appreciate the graciousness and work ethic he brought with him every day,” Fields said. “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.”
Before joining the Hawks organization, Prunty worked as an assistant coach with the Phoenix Suns (2018-19), Milwaukee Bucks (2014-18), also served as interim head coach over the final 37 games (21-16 record) of 2017-18, Brooklyn Nets (2013-14), Cleveland Cavaliers (2010-13), Portland Trail Blazers (2008-10), Dallas Mavericks (2005-08) and San Antonio Spurs (2000-05), where he helped Greg Popovich’s staff to three NBA Championships.
Stay tuned for more updates on potential coaching candidates, and what the team might look like under Prunty compared to what it did under McMillan.