Nate McMillan

Latest On Bucks’ Coaching Situation

The Bucks have reached out to Doc Rivers to discuss having him take over their head coaching job, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirms.

As reported earlier in the day, Rivers is the top choice to replace first-year coach Adrian Griffin, who was abruptly fired on Tuesday.

CNN Sports, as relayed by the NBA on TNT, reported on Tuesday night that Rivers had accepted the position (video link). However, that report has yet to be corroborated by other media outlets.

Rivers already has a connection to the Bucks, having informally served as a consultant for Griffin this season at the behest of the club.

Here’s more on the Bucks’ coaching situation:

  • Griffin offered a diplomatic answer to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report regarding his dismissal: “I appreciate the opportunity the Bucks gave me. You can’t control everything,” Griffin said in a phone interview. “I feel good about the job we did. I appreciate my coaching staff for all their hard work. I always wanted to be a head coach in this league. I couldn’t have asked for a better roster. I got to coach Giannis (Antetokounpo), Dame (Lillard), Khris (Middleton), Brook (Lopez). Dream come true. Hopefully, I get another shot at it, but overall, I’m just thankful.”
  • Bucks general manager Jon Horst and assistant GM Milt Newton began closely observing practices and shootarounds in the last 10 days or so, Haynes reports in the same story.  That began raising the eyebrows of the coaching staff and players. If they don’t land Rivers, the Bucks also have Jeff Van Gundy and Nate McMillan on their short list of candidates, Haynes adds.
  • Griffin met with his top four players after the team’s loss to Indiana during the in-season tournament last month and they all spoke about what was working, what wasn’t working and how they could best be utilized. Griffin told the players that sacrifices were required, but bickering in the locker room continued shortly thereafter.
  • Griffin was hired at the endorsement of Antetokounmpo, but that endorsement had more to do with whom the two-time MVP didn’t want as head coach, writes Marc Stein at SubstackNick Nurse was high on the Bucks’ list of candidates before he was hired by the Sixers, according to Stein, who says Antetokounmpo wanted the franchise to go in a different direction and chose to back Griffin. Moving on from Griffin now was a far easier move than finding a difference-making trade, given Milwaukee’s limited assets, Stein adds.
  • When Lillard’s former head coach, Terry Stotts, chose to resign from the Bucks’ staff just prior to the season opener, the reason was that Griffin felt that he was being undermined by Stotts, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Stotts was brought in to mentor Griffin but they clashed on scheme and philosophy.

Haynes’ Latest: Beal, Pacers, Lue, McMillan, Henderson, Hornets

The Wizards have given Bradley Beal and his representatives – including agent Mark Bartelstein – permission to talk to rival teams about a potential trade, sources tell Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report.

While Beal has not requested a trade, per Haynes, the Wizards are reportedly mulling the idea of a roster reset that would involve moving the star guard. Since Beal has a no-trade clause, he’ll be very much a part of any trade negotiations, so it’s no surprise that his camp has been granted permission to talk directly to potential suitors.

[RELATED: Wizards, Bradley Beal Discussing Trade Scenarios]

The Heat and Bucks are among the teams expected to speak with Bartelstein, sources tell Haynes. The Heat and Beal have been linked in the past and appear to have mutual interest, but the 29-year-old isn’t attempting to force his way to Miami or to any other specific team, a source tells Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

As for Milwaukee, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports confirms there have been rumblings about the Bucks having interest in Beal, as others have reported. But a Bucks trade for Beal would probably have to include Khris Middleton, according to Fischer, who says all indications are that Milwaukee intends to bring back Middleton and free agent center Brook Lopez.

Here’s more from Haynes’ latest rumor round-up:

  • The Pacers have made the No. 7 pick available and are in the market for a starting-caliber wing, per Haynes, echoing a report from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (Twitter video link via Evan Sidery of Forbes). According to Fischer, Indiana previously explored trade scenarios for Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter (for Chris Duarte and draft capital) and Raptors forward OG Anunoby. The Pacers are also expected to be among the suitors for Celtics restricted free agent forward Grant Williams, Fischer adds.
  • The Clippers are considered unlikely to reach an agreement on a contract extension with head coach Tyronn Lue this offseason, Haynes reports. Lue has one more guaranteed year on his contract, with a team option for 2024/25. Haynes adds that the Suns never officially made contact with the Clippers about their interest in Lue this spring, since L.A. would have wanted draft assets to release Lue from his contract, and Phoenix used most of its draft picks at the trade deadline to acquire Kevin Durant.
  • Nate McMillan turned down an offer to join the Mavericks‘ coaching staff and intends to take a year off from coaching to spend time with his family, sources tell Haynes.
  • Scoot Henderson will return to North Carolina on Monday to meet with Hornets owner Michael Jordan, writes Haynes. Fischer previously reported that Charlotte wanted to bring both Henderson and Brandon Miller back early next week to meet with Jordan. It’s unclear whether or not Miller will also return to Charlotte.

Hawks Notes: Collins, Young, McMillan, Timing

Hawks forward John Collins has cleared the NBA’s concussion protocol, but he’s still being affected by another injury. The 25-year-old is dealing with lower back tightness and was initially listed as questionable for Sunday’s game vs. Brooklyn, according to Hawks reporter Brad Rowland (Twitter links).

However, Collins went through warm-ups unscathed and is available this afternoon, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Through 50 games (31.1 MPG) in 2022/23, Collins is averaging 13.2 PPG, 7.1 RPG and 1.2 BPG on .506/.248/.813 shooting splits. Trade deadline acquisition Saddiq Bey, who started in Collins’ place during Friday’s victory over Cleveland, was moved back to a reserve role.

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • Trae Young spoke to the media for the first time on Friday following former coach Nate McMillan‘s dismissal. While their relationship may not have been perfect, Young says he was surprised by the timing of the move and has “nothing but love and respect” for McMillan, as Lauren Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution relays. “I was waking up from a nap and heard about it,” Young said. “And it was surprising to me. I mean, the timing and stuff, right now. But obviously, I know what this league is and Nate knows. We’ve talked since then and had a conversation and stuff like that. So, I got nothing but love and respect for Nate and the type of person he is, and things like that. So it’s not the last time me and him are going to talk. I mean I talk to all my coaches that I’ve played for. So, that’s what I was expressing to him, and I appreciated him for, I mean, being a part of that run that took us in this franchise further than it’s been. So, he should get a lot of love for that alone (and) for what he’s done for us and his team and this organization. So I got nothing but love for him, and it’s a tough situation. But, it’s part of this league, and I got nothing but love for him.”
  • There had been rumblings about the Hawks moving on from McMillan in the offseason and a report that he had considered resigning himself, so the news wasn’t totally unexpected. Still, as Young alluded to, the timing of the firing seemed to catch many within the organization off guard, ESPN’s Zach Lowe recently said on his Lowe Post podcast (hat tip to RealGM). “I think a lot of people within that team, players, coaches, staff were blindsided by 23 games to go at the end of the All-Star break,” Lowe said. “‘… We’re pulling the trigger now on this?’
  • In case you missed it, the Hawks have reportedly offered their head coaching job to former Jazz coach Quin Snyder, and the two sides are said to be nearing a deal.

Hawks’ Fields Discusses McMillan’s Dismissal, Coaching Search

Addressing reporters in a press conference a day after dismissing head coach Nate McMillan, Hawks general manager Landry Fields framed the decision as a difficult but necessary one, per Lauren Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

According to Fields, the possibility of a coaching change had been on his radar for “the last month or so,” and he finalized the decision to make the move over the All-Star break after the Hawks closed the first half with losses to Charlotte and New York.

Asked about reports that McMillan considered resigning earlier in the season, Fields said that the Hawks’ coach never expressed that desire to him.

Fields also stated that Atlanta has already begun speaking to potential candidates to replace McMillan on a permanent basis, confirming that Quin Snyder is among the options the team will consider (Snyder was identified by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski as a leading candidate). The Hawks’ general manager declined to confirm any other names on Atlanta’s list of possible targets, explaining that he didn’t want to discuss anyone who’s under contract with another club.

Here are a few more highlights from Fields’ Wednesday presser, as relayed by Williams:

On whether Trae Young or any other Hawks players had input in the decision to dismiss McMillan:

“They did not have any role in this decision. I would not ever go to players on something like this. This was solely my decision at the end of the day. As far as a new candidate, to me our objectives and our values are clear. And the players fall in line with those, as well. So (I) don’t necessarily need their feedback on who that will be.”

On whether McMillan’s relationship with Young was part of the reason for his ouster:

“No, I think that at the end of the day, it came down to how all players were responding to his voice, and I just didn’t see it. I didn’t see the trajectory going anywhere that was going to be beneficial for us.”

On what qualities the Hawks are looking for in their next permanent head coach:

“Well, it always starts with a shared vision. And I always simplify that as being a championship-caliber franchise. And that’s not just with our goals, that’s our day-in-and-day-out approach.

“Character is something that is going to be high on our list, and I think it’s a big broad word but for us, having a great degree of emotional intelligence being able to connect not just with staff members, but also with players, is gonna be high on the list. Somebody that is able and willing to hold the line, accountability is huge for us. And then at the end of the day has a strong emphasis on development. That is something that we will be making sure is part of our priorities here with Atlanta. So, those would be some to start.”

On his expectations for the Hawks going forward:

“I believe we can get a lot better. I think that this is a very talented roster. And looking at our record, like it’s not acceptable with what I believe this roster can be. So that’s why we’re trying to make a change and level up.”

Hawks Dismiss Head Coach Nate McMillan

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.

Scotto’s Latest: Irving, Rockets, McMillan, D. Williams, Goodwin, Sumner

It seemed highly unlikely at times this past summer and fall that Nets star Kyrie Irving would even finish the season in Brooklyn, let alone stick with the team beyond 2022/23. But now several executives around the NBA believe that Irving will remain with the Nets this summer rather than leaving for a new team in free agency, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

“I think Kyrie ends up with a short extension with the Nets,” one executive predicted. “A sign-and-trade for Kyrie this summer would be tough given the length needed and assets to make it happen from another team. I think there’s an incentive for an extension on a one-plus-one or two-year deal.”

The Lakers, who were rumored to have interest in Irving during the 2022 offseason, loom as perhaps the biggest threat to lure him away from the Nets during the summer of 2023. They’re currently on track to open up about $30MM in cap space and could offer Kyrie the opportunity to form a Big Three alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Here’s more from Scotto:

  • The Rockets are expected to go “star hunting” during the offseason, according to Scotto, who notes that Houston will have a significant chunk of cap space and wants to be more competitive in 2023/24.
  • Echoing previous reports, Scotto says the prevailing belief from outside the Hawks‘ organization is that head coach Nate McMillan won’t still be coaching the team next season.
  • Donovan Williams‘ new two-way contract with the Hawks covers next season in addition to the rest of this one, according to Scotto, who tweets that Atlanta has long been intrigued by Williams’ upside.
  • Wizards two-way player Jordan Goodwin is a strong candidate to be promoted to Washington’s 15-man roster before the end of this season, assuming the team can open up a spot, league sources tell Scotto. Goodwin is 10th among Wizards in minutes played this season, having earned playing time over several players who are on standard contracts.
  • Before he signed with the Nets over the summer, guard Edmond Sumner also received interest from the Suns, Pistons, and Pacers, per Scotto. Sumner worked out for Phoenix and had a workout scheduled with Detroit that he had to miss due to COVID-19.

Hawks Rumors: McMillan, Young, Schlenk, Collins

It’s becoming increasingly likely that this will be Nate McMillan‘s final season as head coach of the Hawks, according to Lauren Williams and Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Sources tell the authors that a player agent was informed that McMillan won’t be returning in a recent meeting with team owner Tony Ressler and his son, manager of basketball and business operations Nick Ressler.

Star guard Trae Young has been involved in disputes with McMillan, although their relationship has reportedly been smoother since an incident that was highly publicized in early December. Williams and Vivlamore hear from several sources that McMillan has considered resigning (as previously reported), but team officials were able to talk him out of it. When asked for a response, McMillan said he is focused on the playoff race and will delay any decisions on his future until after the season.

New head of basketball operations Landry Fields and Kyle Korver, who is finalizing a deal to become assistant general manager, both denied talking to agents about the team’s plans for McMillan.

“We’ve got half a season (left),” Fields said. “That’s a lot of basketball. There’s been transition. There’s been stories that come out. There’s been so much investment that we have to have today to think about beyond this season. It’s not just like Nate, it’s with a lot of different people. Like for us, how are we thinking about ourselves going forward?

“To start to live into that space without honoring this space would be unfair for everyone involved — Nate, myself, Kyle included — like, that’s somewhere. We believe in Nate right now. He’s for us. He’s trying to do things in this whole transition of leadership that are hard. They’re hard for everyone. So having this partnership right now for the objectives that we have for this continued season is our only focus.”

There’s more on the Hawks, all from Williams and Vivlamore:

  • The relationship between Young and former president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk deteriorated over the past few months, leading to Schlenk’s decision to move into an advisory role in December, according to the authors’ sources. They add that even though Schlenk is listed as a senior advisor, he’s had no actual input into the organization since stepping down, confirming a recent Sam Amick report. The dispute reportedly began after Game 2 of last season’s playoff series when Young chartered a private flight home from Miami without telling anyone from the team. He was subsequently fined.
  • Several controversial personnel decisions led to the front office shakeup, sources tell Williams and Vivlamore. Among them was a John Collins trade last season that was ultimately vetoed by ownership. Other moves include the trade of Kevin Huerter to the Kings made just to avoid the luxury tax, the high price the team paid to the Spurs for Dejounte Murray, the signing of Aaron Holiday, who was Nick Ressler’s teammate in high school, and the trade of Luka Doncic to the Mavericks after drafting him in 2018.
  • The Hawks are focused on portraying an atmosphere of stability amid all the recent changes, Williams and Vivlamore add. The organization is looking for a new uniform sponsor and doesn’t want to scare away a potential advertiser with any appearance of turmoil.

Nate McMillan Responds To Resignation Rumors

Shortly after Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Friday that Hawks head coach Nate McMillan had “strongly considered” the possibility of resigning from his position, McMillan met with reporters for a pregame press conference ahead of the team’s matchup with the Lakers. Predictably, the first question he received focused on Charania’s report.

“I read that article briefly,” McMillan responded (Twitter video link via Brad Rowland). “I’ve never spoken to that reporter before. I think the last two weeks, he’s written a couple articles with some sources in our organization that are making some comments about me and some things that I’m saying and doing.”

Earlier in December, Charania also received a byline (along with Sam Amick) on a story about a verbal confrontation between McMillan and star Trae Young, which is presumably the other report McMillan was referring to.

“Look, at the end of the year, I’ll do as I’ll always done,” McMillan continued. “At the end of the season, I talk with my family and see if I still have that flame, that fire to continue next season. But that’s the end of the season. All of us think about retiring. But that’s at the end of the season.

“We’re going to move on past that, that story. We have a (playoff) race to prepare for. We’re trying to get our guys healthy and make another run at the playoffs. But the things that were reported — look, I’m here to coach this team and I’ve talked to (team owner) Tony (Ressler) many times. Our goal is to make the playoffs and that’s what we’re working towards.

After concluding his statement, McMillan waited a beat and jokingly added, “So we’ve squashed that, right?”

While it sounds like McMillan doesn’t intend to step down from his position anytime soon, his comments probably won’t quell speculation about his long-term future in Atlanta. Charania wrote that McMillan “appears to be near the end of his tenure with the Hawks after the season,” suggesting that either the head coach or the team (or both) may want to move on in the spring. That still sounds like a very real possibility.

Of course, winning solves a lot of problems, so if McMillan can replicate his second-half success from the last two seasons, perhaps his future will look a whole lot different a few months from now. McMillan, who took over for Lloyd Pierce midway through the 2020/21 campaign, led the team to a 27-11 record and two playoff series wins that year. In ’21/22, following a 17-25 start, Atlanta went 26-14 the rest of the way and won a pair of play-in games to secure a postseason berth.

This season, following a splashy summer trade for Dejounte Murray, the Hawks are once again off to a slow start. The club has lost three games in a row and nine of its last 13 to drop its overall record to 17-19. Atlanta holds the No. 9 seed in the East and is only ahead of the No. 11 Raptors by a single game.

Hawks’ Nate McMillan Has Considered Resigning

Hawks head coach Nate McMillan has “strongly considered” the possibility of resigning from his position, league sources with knowledge of the situation tell Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Charania’s report comes just weeks after he and Sam Amick of The Athletic described a verbal confrontation between McMillan and Hawks star Trae Young. McMillan’s job security came into question following that incident, per Charania, but sources tell The Athletic that his job has been considered safe and the team wants him to finish the season in his role.

However, McMillan “appears to be near the end of his tenure with the Hawks after the season,” Charania writes, which presumably means the club is mulling the idea of making a coaching change in the spring — if McMillan hasn’t stepped down before then.

Sources tell The Athletic that no McMillan resignation is imminent and that he and new head of basketball operations Landry Fields have had positive recent conversations about the direction of the team.

Still, Charania points to the alleged confrontation between McMillan and Young as a sign of the “disconnect” between the two. Given that Young is in the first season of a five-year, $215MM contract, he’s unlikely to be the odd man out if the franchise ultimately has to make a decision between its head coach and its star player.

As Charania observes, McMillan spoke last week about the challenges of coaching today’s players, telling reporters, “They see the game different than when I played it and when I started coaching.”

The Hawks hoped to take a major step forward this year after trading for Dejounte Murray over the summer, but it has been up and down season in Atlanta so far. The team has an underwhelming 17-18 record and ranks ninth in the Eastern Conference.

McMillan was initially hired in 2020 by Travis Schlenk, first as an assistant, then as Lloyd Pierce‘s replacement in 2021. Schlenk transitioned last week from Atlanta’s president of basketball operations to a senior advisory role.

According to Charania, the Hawks made some other changes to their front office while reassigning Schlenk and promoting Fields — senior adviser Rod Higgins, director of pro scouting Stephen Giles, and VP of player personnel Derek Pierce were all let go, sources tell The Athletic. It remains to be seen whether a coaching shake-up will follow the one that occurred in the front office.

Jazz Notes: Markkanen, Olynyk, Fizdale, Kessler

Lauri Markkanen is having an outstanding season for the Jazz and is a prime candidate to make his first All-Star appearance. In a Q&A session with Mark Medina of, the Finnish forward says that a strong performance at EuroBasket and being in top physical condition have contributed to his improved play, noting that he expected the team to be successful in 2022/23.

I had high expectations, especially after this summer,” Markkanen said. “I got my confidence going with the national team. There were a lot of NBA guys [in EuroBasket]. Physically, I’m in the best shape of my life. So, I had high expectations from the beginning. We have a lot of good players on this team. So, I had high expectations with the team even coming into the year, especially after training camp started.

We have a good team. We just have to stay on the same page and build off our chemistry. We have a lot of new guys. But that was the same thing last season when I was in Cleveland. Everyone was doubting you at the beginning of the year. Then we started out well. Having that experience and then going into training camp, I knew we had a good team. We just have to keep going and keep getting better with knowing each other and staying on the same page.”

Markkanen also says he was limited to highlights and recaps growing up in Finland due to games being on in the middle of the night, and didn’t actually start watching NBA games until he came stateside to play college ball at Arizona. It’s an interesting interview from Medina and worth checking out in full.

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • Big man Kelly Olynyk, who recently missed four straight games with a left ankle sprain, was able to return to the lineup in Wednesday’s loss at Golden State, tweets Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. The 31-year-old Canadian is having a solid season for Utah, averaging 12.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 3.2 APG and 1.1 SPG on .520/.431/.835 shooting through 33 games (28.5 MPG).
  • Marc J. Spears of Andscape details how David Fizdale went from coaching to an assistant general manager position with the Jazz. Fizdale was an assistant coach with the Lakers last season, but Darvin Ham decided to go in a different direction. Fizdale had a job offer to be an assistant coach under Nate McMillan with the Hawks, but he ultimately declined it when he was offered the Jazz’s front office position. According to Spears, Fizdale told friend and Jazz part-owner Dwyane Wade that “being a more present husband and dad” played a big factor in his desire for a new role, with Wade later informing president Danny Ainge of Fizdale’s interest.
  • On the How ‘Bout This Jazz podcast, Walden and Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune explored the reported rumor of Utah discussing a three-team trade, rookie Walker Kessler being a pleasant surprise, potential lineup changes, and other topics.