Atlanta Hawks stuns NBA community by firing head coach Nate McMillan mid-season with 29-30 record naming Joe Prunty as interim

Following the All-Star break, the Atlanta Hawks will have a new coach. The Hawks announced on Tuesday that they had sacked head coach Nate McMillan. Atlanta’s interim head coach will be assistant Joe Prunty.

“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,” general manager Landry Fields said in a statement. “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.”

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Hawks are immediately beginning their search for a new permanent head coach, with Quin Synder, the former head coach of the Utah Jazz, likely to be at the top of their list. According to reports, Golden State Warriors coach Kenny Atkinson and Milwaukee Bucks assistant Charles Lee will both reportedly be candidates for the role.

58-year-old McMillan was promoted from assistant to interim head coach in March 2021 after Lloyd Pierce was fired. With McMillan in charge, the Hawks absolutely turned their season around, going 27-11 to secure the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta then defeated the No. 1 Philadelphia 76ers and No. 4 New York Knicks before losing to the Milwaukee Bucks, the eventual conference champions, in the final match.

Atlanta, though, has been unable to recapture the form it shown during that spectacular playoff run since McMillan was promoted to the full-time position before this season. The Hawks had a 43-39 regular season record when they entered the 2022 playoffs as the No. 8 seed, but they were defeated by the Miami Heat in the first round in five games.

This season, despite a significant offseason trade to get Dejounte Murray, Atlanta is currently standing seventh in the East with a 29-30 record. Off the court, things haven’t gone well either. Trae Young reportedly had a conversation with McMillan at a shootaround in December that made him decide not to participate in a game. Following the event, McMillan said he would think about retirement after the current season.

Prunty, 54, has been a member of Atlanta’s staff since last season and has worked as an NBA assistant for more than 20 years. He has also served as the Bucks’ interim head coach, taking over for 37 games in 2017–18 after Jason Kidd was dismissed.


Sayma Yeasmin

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I write cause that's the only way I know to sound sane.


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