El Dorado News-Times

Hawks fire Nate McMillan


ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday fired coach Nate McMillan, who was unable to follow up on the success of leading the team to the 2021 Eastern Conference finals.

Atlanta general manager Landry Fields announcing the firing. The Hawks are 29-30 and in eighth place in the East this season.

Assistant coach Joe Prunty will serve as interim coach. Prunty joined the Hawks in July 2021 as lead assistant.

The 58-year-old McMillan went 99-80 as Atlanta's coach, including a 27-11 record as interim in the second half of the 2020-21 season.

His success that season earned him the full-time position.

McMillan was frustrated in his attempts to improve Atlanta's defense, a consistent weakness that weighed down a team led by high-scoring guard Trae Young.

McMillan denied reports early this season that he considered resigning.

Overall in 19 seasons, McMillan has a 760-668 record with the Seattle SuperSonic­s, Portland Trail Blazers, Indiana Pacers and Hawks.

“I would like to thank Nate for his leadership and profession­alism during his time with the Hawks,” Fields said in a statement. “He is truly a class act, and we appreciate the graciousne­ss and work ethic he brought with him every day.”

The Hawks finished 43-39 in the 2021-22 season and, after escaping the play-in tournament, lost to the Miami Heat 4-1 in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Atlanta then added more emphasis to a win-now approach by trading Danilo Gallinari and three first-round picks to the San Antonio Spurs for AllStar guard Dejounte Murray.

The trade formed a backcourt pairing of All-Star guards in Murray and Young and placed more heat on McMillan to guide the Hawks back to the top of the conference.

Instead, the Hawks have struggled near .500 most of the season. They lost four of six games before the All-Star break and are only one game ahead of 10th-place Toronto in the East. The slide left Atlanta closer to falling out of the play-in tournament than moving into the No. 6 spot for a guaranteed playoff position.

The New York Knicks are ahead of Atlanta.

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