5:01pm: The Hawks have issued a press release, confirming McMillan’s dismissal as well as Prunty’s promotion to interim head coach.
“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,” Hawks GM Landry 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.”
4:24pm: The Hawks have fired head coach Nate McMillan, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.
Atlanta is one of the league’s most disappointing teams. The Hawks currently rank eighth in the Eastern Conference with a 29-30 record.
Assistant Joe Prunty will be the interim coach, but the franchise is looking at some bigger names to become the permanent head coach, according to Wojnarowski.
Former Jazz coach Quin Snyder tops the list of candidates with Bucks assistant Charles Lee and Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson also on the Hawks’ radar (Twitter links). The team will conduct a wide-ranging search, which will begin immediately.
The Hawks have one of the league’s top point guards in Trae Young and made a blockbuster trade to acquire Dejounte Murray from San Antonio as his backcourt partner. Yet, they have floundered around the .500 mark for much of the season.
McMillan was named the club’s interim coach in March 2021 in place of Lloyd Pierce. Atlanta made a surprise run to the Eastern Conference Finals, prompting the Hawks to remove the interim tag and give him a four-year contract in July 2021.
The Hawks finished the regular season at 43-39 and lost in the first round of the playoffs last spring. A report surfaced last month that stated McMillan was unlikely to remain the head coach beyond this season.
Young has had disagreements with McMillan, although their relationship has reportedly been smoother since an incident that was highly publicized in early December. McMillan had reportedly considered resigning this season, but team officials were able to talk him out of it.
Prunty was the Bucks’ interim head coach during the 2017/18 season and finished with a 21-16 record. Milwaukee lost to Boston in the opening round of the playoffs that season.
Prunty has been an assistant on eight NBA teams. He spent a season with Phoenix and wasn’t in the league for two years before joining the Atlanta staff prior to last season.